Amy-Louise had her first experience with street harassment at the age of 13 when a boy groped her while she was walking home from school. She, like many women, has been so traumatized by a lifetime of sexual harassment that she struggles with severe anxiety and only feels safe in public when accompanied by her boyfriend.
Anti-Street Harassment Week kicks off Sexual Assault Awareness Month and is “an opportunity to collectively raise awareness that street harassment happens and that it’s not OK.” Organizations such as Hollaback! and Stop Street Harassment are hosting events all over the world where supporters can share their stories and strategize about how to end cat-calling, groping, public masturbation and other kinds of street harassment. Below are a few events happening around the U.S.:
Arizona: Take part in Hollaback! Tucson’s Street Harassment 101: An Introduction workshop. [April 2]
Massachusettss: Take Back the Bar with Hollaback! Boston and help to create safe night-life spaces for women and LGBTQ folks. [April 3]
Pennsylvania: Hollaback! is hosting a dance party/benefit in Philadelphia. [April 5]
New York: Stand up against street harassment at a rally in New York’s Washington Square Park. [April 5]
To find an event in your community, click here.
Stop Street Harassment has some advice for how to deal if you find yourself confronted by a harasser:
1. Respond: If you feel safe enough, respond calmly and assertively, letting the harasser know that their advances are unwelcome.
2. Hand the harasser a flyer: If you don’t feel safe enough to speak, consider handing the harasser a flyer about street harassment.
3. Step in: Intervene when someone else is being harassed to help them out and let the harasser know that their actions are unacceptable.
4. Report to an employer: If the harasser works for an identifiable company, call or write to that company letting them know that their employees are harassing people on the job.
5. Report to police or transit workers: Report the action to a police officer or person of authority.
6. Report with your phone: If you have a smartphone, download the Hollaback! app and report your experience.
7. Take creative action: Respond to the harasser in a creative and surprising way.
Andrea Ananighian is a graduate in English from California State University, Channel Islands. She is currently an intern at Ms.