This is a guest blog post by Alli Lindner.
On June 2nd, Queerocracy, a New York City-based grassroots organization, presented QRASH Course: Queers Resisting All Street Harassment. QRASH Course was an afternoon-long training event for people who witness and experience street harassment in the NYC area. During the event, attendees and trainers worked together to come up with strategies for handling all forms of street harassment.
We kicked off the day by looking at some of the different kinds of street harassment we experience, like sexual harassment, police harassment, racist harassment, transphobic harassment, and queer harassment. One of our goals with this training was to explore more than just sexual harassment so we made sure to be inclusive of issues like racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ageism, and many more.
We then worked through strategies we could use when we experience and witness harassment. Trainers presented strategies attendees could consider using in street harassment situations and acted out some strategies in a skit. Attendees were put to the test, though, when they were put into small groups and given scenarios that they had to respond to. Their creative responses drew from the tips they had been given by trainers and from their own experiences, making this one of the best activities of the day!
We ended the day by taking the time to share personal stories about street harassment in our “Speak Out.” After establishing the group as a safe space, we sat in a circle and took turns sharing our experiences with each other. The Speak Out was one of the most successful parts of the training—almost everyone shared a story! These stories reminded me why I am committed to anti-street harassment work and why this type of inclusive training is necessary. Many people had experienced street harassment of all kinds, not just sexual harassment, and were able to share the strategies they have used to react to that harassment.
QRASH Course was a great learning experience for everyone involved and we are in the process of planning future courses! If you are part of a school or organization in the NYC area that could benefit from our training, reach out to Alli at email@example.com.
Alli Lindner is a senior at Hunter College in the Women and Gender Studies department in New York City. She is a proud alumna of the Young People For fellowship program and she currently interns at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies.
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