Street Harassment Round Up

During Winter break, Building Communities organized a strategy session around street harassment and violence. Unfortunately in our society, street harassment is a common occurrence especially for those of us with identities that are routinely marginalized. How should we speak up for ourselves and others while maintaining personal safety? These are all questions that were grappled with during the strategy session. How we react and help others is really what is important. I can think to many situations in my own life where I wish I had the skills to help myself and other people. Our strategy session was useful in bringing these ideas to the forefront of our brains so we know how to react accordingly the next time we personally are targeted or witness someone else being the target of harassment.

There are numerous projects worldwide that combat street harassment as well as empowering those affected most. Listed below are several awesome projects (and their descriptions) that tackle the issue of street harassment. These projects use alternative means of dealing with the pain of public harassment and offer healing– namely, through artistic intervention and storytelling.

  • Hollaback!: Hollaback is a movement to end street harassment powered by a network of local activists around the world. We work together to better understand street harassment, to ignite public conversations, and to develop innovative strategies to ensure equal access to public spaces.
  • Stop Telling Women to Smile: 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.
  • How Many Women?: In response to a post by “The Riot”, one Tumblr user speculated that “many women” find the attention that of street harassment enjoyable. So I asked the question, how many women? So far, the answer is zero.