Street harassment is any action — physical or verbal — in a public place that makes you feel unwelcome, uncomfortable, threatened, afraid, or just plain creeped out. We're all entitled to move freely from our home to work, to the park, to a friend's house, but street harrassment can make us feel like this isn't true.
Different forms of harassment can be complex. Behaviour that might be inoffensive to one person can be deeply offensive and intimidating to another. It's important that we recognize there are different factors that contribute to each person's experience. For example, sexual orientation, sex and gender identity, race and ethnicity, religion, and all sorts of other cultural codes and signifiers all affect how people imagine they can treat us, and how we ourselves react to that treatment. Women and girls are highly susceptible to sexual harassment. The goal is to know how to identify harassment and what to do about it.
- Identify. Identify what street harassment looks like. It can range from leers, whistles, honks, kissing noises, gender-policing, and non-sexually explicit evaluative comments, to more insulting and threatening behavior like vulgar gestures, slurs, sexually charged comments, flashing, and stalking, etc.
- Educate. Tell your peers that street harrassment shouldn't be ignored. Explore the issue of street harassment to generate discussions about street harassment and public safety. Public spaces such as restaurants, public transportation, streets, parking lots, and parks are target spaces for street harassment.
- Share Your Stories. Use technology, like iHollaback's mobile apps or Harassmap and others like it, to document, identify, and map harassers.
- Awareness. Raise awareness online through social media. This is an opportunity to use any mobile or tech-based device. Take a Creative Approach — write a poem and share it on Power Poetry.
- Take Action. Figure out what is going on in your community. Get together with friends and write a long poem protesting against street harassment. The poem can take the form a public service announcement or action guide for your community. Other ways to take action is conduct a survey, community safety audit, or create a mapping project to document where street harassment occurs. To Take Action is To Create Safe Space!
- Power Poetry. Think about a way to end these traumatic experiences. Write a poem to yourself about how to end street harassment, or even about how you feel. You could write a poem to a friend who experienced street harassment. Think about the ways in which street harassment functions — a means to silence our voices and/or a means for perpetrators to exert power over other people. Submit your poem about Street Harassment to Power Poetry. Encourage your friends and family to write one too. Also, visit the site for more poems on Street Harassment. Let your poem give a form of solution. Your poem will let others know that they are not alone.