What you can do to help end street harassment

The following is guest post by Holly Kearl for International Anti-Street Harassment Week. Kearl is an DC-based activist and author of “Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women.”

By age 12, nearly 1 in 4 girls experience unwanted sexual comments, leers, touches, and stalking in public places by strangers. Nearly 90 percent of women have that experience by age 19.

Street harassment teaches girls that public places are male territory and they are prey to male predators of all ages. The harassment restricts their access to public places and impedes gender equality. Street harassment—including scary amounts of violence—also disproportionately and negatively impacts LGBQT individuals.

This is unacceptable.

From March 18 to 24, more than 100 groups in 18 countries are joining thousands of individuals worldwide to collectively bring attention to the global problem of gender-based street harassment during International Anti-Street Harassment Week. Participants can choose whatever approach they think will be most effective in their community. Tactics for raising awareness range from blogging and holding group discussions to sidewalk chalking parties and street theater to posting signs in public restrooms about the harassment that transgender people face there.

See if one of the planned events is happening in your area. You can participate in many other ways, too. Suggestions include:

  1. Sharing your stories on or offline,or reading/listening to other peoples’ stories
  2. Tweeting stories or messages with #EndSHWeek.
  3. Changing your Facebook profile picture for the week. Here is an image in English and you can visit the tools page to access logos in 13 languages.
  4. Gathering a few friends together to create fliers to post or hand out in the community or write sidewalk messages. Here are ideas for messages and a fact sheet with statistics to pull from. Here are fliers you can print and pass out: 1 | 2. Or visit the tools page and download an 8.5×11 size flier in 5 languages. Scroll down that page and there are also bystander posters and posters about the harassment of transgender individuals in public restrooms.

I hope you’ll Meet us on the Street this week and help us collectively bring attention to this human rights issue and work to create safer and more welcoming public spaces for the next generation.

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One Comment

  1. Posted March 20, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    You have no idea how perfect the timing of this is. The weather in my area just turned unexpectedly beautiful–it feels less like March and more like June, and as a friend told me the other day–”Every idiot in town comes out with the nice weather.” One day last week a creep on a bike followed me most of the way home trying to chat me up, and the SECOND he left I was catcalled to by a guy smoking on his porch. I came home to find my friends had faced the exact same treatment–some of them from the same men! I’ve had a guy try to call out to me from across four lanes of heavy traffic before–or at least I think he was– I couldn’t hear him over the FOUR LANES OF HEAVY TRAFFIC. I posted a link on Facebook and you bet I’ll talk to my friends. This is unacceptable.

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