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Street Harassment

Hollaback!: From their website: “Hollaback! is a movement dedicated to ending street harassment using mobile technology. Street harassment is one of the most pervasive forms of gender-based violence [see definition of gender based violence here] and one of the least legislated against. Comments from “You’d look good on me” to groping, flashing and assault are a daily, global reality for women and LGBTQ individuals. But it is rarely reported, and it’s culturally accepted as ‘the price you pay’ for being a woman or for being gay. At Hollaback!, we don’t buy it.

We believe that everyone has a right to feel safe and confident without being objectified. Sexual harassment is a gateway crime that creates a cultural environment that makes gender-based violence OK. There exists a clear legal framework to reproach sexual harassment and abuse in the home and at work, but when it comes to the streets—all bets are off. This gap isn’t because street harassment hurts any less, it’s because there hasn’t been a solution. Until now. The explosion of mobile technology has given us an unprecedented opportunity to end street harassment—and with it, the opportunity to take on one of the final new frontiers for women’s rights around the world.

By collecting women and LGBTQ folks’ stories and pictures in a safe and share-able way with our very own mobile phone applications, is creating a crowd-sourced initiative to end street harassment. Hollaback! breaks the silence that has perpetuated sexual violence internationally, asserts that any and all gender-based violence is unacceptable, and creates a world where we have an option—and, more importantly—a response.”
In March 2012, Hollaback partnered with Green Dot to launch their “I’ve got your back!” campaign. Click here to visit the hollaback “I’ve got your back” site!

Collective Action for Safe Spaces

is a grassroots organization that works to empower people in the DC metropolitan area to build a community free from public sexual harassment and assault.

The Street Harassment Project: From their website:
“BECAUSE women are terrorized daily in public spaces, our personal space violated by men who block our paths, stand too close, use a too intimate and insulting language toward us…
BECAUSE this behavior is implicitly menacing and threatening and often becomes overtly threatening when a woman expresses her anger at these affronts…
BECAUSE the line between verbal harassment and physical menacing is often crossed…
BECAUSE on June 11, 2000, hundreds of men assaulted, stripped and fondled over 56 women in the public space of Central Park and the rage of women in the city exploded…
The Street Harassment Project was (re)initiated on June 15, 2000 and has been meeting weekly ever since.”

Stop Street Harassment: From their website: “Stop Street Harassment is a resource center where visitors can access lists of statistics, articles, films, campaigns, ideas for engaging male allies, and images and flyers around street harassment. Stop Street Harassment also provides people with a place to share their stories.

  • Listen to an interview with Holly Kearl, the organizer of International Anti-Street Harassment Week as well as her series of blogs around street harassment.
  • Listen to a podcast with Holly Kearl and Jessica Raven from Collective Action for Safe Spaces on the WAMTA Transit campaign that is intersectional and inclusive.

Stop Telling Women to Smile is an art series by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. The work attempts to address gender based street harassment by placing drawn portraits of women, composed with captions that speak directly to offenders, outside in public spaces.

The Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team (YWAT) formed in 2003 to respond to the problem of street harassment in Rogers Park. The high-school aged young women are determined to hold the community accountable for violence against women and girls. YWAT first took action against street harassment and teen dating violence by conducting in-depth community based research projects. Visit their website to learn more about their research and community driven initiatives.

Additional resources:
Always on Guard: Women and Street Harassment, by Holly Kearl, published in Spring/Summer 2009
Cartoon illustration of feminism and street harassment, by Robot Hugs, published July, 2014.