We’ve been honked, whistled, and leered at. We can attempt to escape the heat by wearing tank tops and shorts, but we can hardly escape the harassment that we face every day on the streets. It is often dismissed as an inevitable annoyance, or maybe even seen as a compliment, but street harassment is one the most pervasive forms of gender-based violence and one that is least legislated against.
March 20th, the first day of spring, is International Anti-Street Harassment Day, where both women and men worldwide can end the silence about public harassment. Women are constantly harassed year round on the streets, but as the warmer weather approaches, it is important for women to speak out and advocate for safety in public spaces and no longer allow themselves to be objectified.
Holly Kearl, author of Stopping Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women and founder of Stop Street Harassment, is working with Hollaback! to take action and address street harassment in all communities. In hopes of international participation, Kearl has created a list of ten ways you can take a stand against street harassment individually or through your community.
Hollaback! Network has become an outlet for sharing stories of harassment and sees sexual harassment as a gateway crime to gender-based violence. Although there have been reports of harassment at home and within the workplace, it is important to shed light on the harassment both experienced and seen on the streets. Street harassment has shockingly become socially acceptable and it should not be the price we pay for being women. Speak out against street harassment and find out ways to get involved in the fight. Don’t ignore the honks, whistles, or leers.
[Picture from: Street Harassment]