What is Street Harassment?
Street harassment isn't new, but the worldwide movement to end it is! At the forefront of the efforts to make public spaces safe for everyone is the anti-street harassment organization Hollaback! who defines street harassment as:
A form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces. At its core is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces. Further, it reinforces the ubiquitous sexual objectification of these groups in everyday life. At Hollaback!, we believe that what specifically counts as street harassment is determined by those who experience it.
This definition encompasses a range of behaviors including everything from cat calling to flashing. Street harassment is experienced by groups collectively while the impact can vary on the individual level; what may not seem like a big deal to one person can cause a lot of harm to another, and vice versa.
Why is it important to understand Street Harassment?
It’s important to understand street harassment for a lot of reasons, many of which deal with basic human rights and safety. Public space should be equally accessed and enjoyed by all members of society and when some people are made to feel uncomfortable for no other reason than their being, that’s everyone’s problem.
Street harassment is so pervasive that it has become normalized or expected as if it’s just the ways things are and have to be. The reality is that this form of aggression is not inevitable. In calling name to it we are able to make visible the inexcusable nature of street harassment and continue to question why and how power and aggression manifest in public space.
Examples from US Culture
Media and advertising employ the trope of street harassment as a way to sell products. This not only normalizes the idea that street harassment is ok, but it also gives the message that to be sexually harassed on the street is desirable.
Common Myths About Street Harassment
Once again, deferring to Hollaback!
Street Harassment Myths and Facts
Wanna Learn More About Street Harassment?
>Take a class
Intro to Gender Based Violence in a US Context
>Borrow a film or book from our library
>Check out these resources
http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/Stop Street Harassment
Bystander’s guide to stopping street harassment
http://jezebel.com/5955644/fgeryterr5yjhytjw-kamau-bell-hits-the-streets-to-ask-whats-so-wrong-with-a-little-cat-callingW. Kamau Bell Hits the Streets to Talk About Street Harassment
http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/male-allies/ Shit Guys Say to Guys Who Say Shit to Women on the Street