Last week the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at American University in Washington, DC, kindly hosted my book release event. I am so grateful to them (especially staff member Kerry Diekmann), to everyone who came, to my co-presenters (who are all featured in the book), and to local groups Defend Yourself and the Queer Review for tabling/supporting. After our presentations, we had a rich Q&A, discussing the issue with attendees who hailed from countries like Afghanistan and Belgium. And my mom even flew in from out of state to be there as a surprise!
(Holly and Sawsan (back) | Patrick, Noorjahan, and Lauren (front))
In my presentation, I gave an overview of the topic and why it matters. I noted that, “When I wrote my master’s thesis on street harassment in 2007 at GWU and started the Stop Street Harassment blog in 2008, I was one of the few visible and public voices speaking out on this issue. I am so thrilled that just a few years later, there are hundreds of people taking a stand.
My new book focuses on many of those people and what they have done over the past five years to work to help end the normalization of sexual harassment in public spaces globally.”
And then I gave examples of some of the changes we’ve seen in the past five years, like more research on the topic, international entities like UN Women and Huairou Commission overseeing international efforts, more individuals using the Internet to launch awareness campaigns, several viral documentaries, concrete changes wrought by advocacy groups like Paremos el acoso callejero in Peru, and an increase in actions individuals have taken, like writing sidewalk chalk messages, distributing cards against harassment and working with youth.
I talked about how it is an exciting time because so many people are refusing to be silent and are making more and more people aware of what street harassment is and why it is unacceptable. You can read all about these efforts and much more in my new book, Stop Global Street Harassment: Growing Activism Around the World (Praeger, 2015). (20% off for the ebook) See upcoming book events.
I took iPhone videos of my co-presenters and they gave me permission to share their words below. (Transcripts to come.) They are amazing and I’m so honored to have their words in my book and to have had them join me at AU!