On Nov. 4, I had the honor of facilitating a focus group on street harassment with Asian-American women in Boston. I will add a summary of the session to our 2014 national study on street harassment by the end of the month. A common theme among the participants was how often the harassment was racialized as well as sexualized and how often they were treated like geishas or fetishes. Many recall the harassment beginning when they were 9, 10, 11 years old. Also, it was almost never Asian-American men who harassed them, rather men of other races, especially white and black men.
Many thanks to Sarah Chang for suggesting it and hosting it and thank you to her and the eight other women who bravely shared their stories.
Then on Nov. 5, Bluestockings bookstore in New York City hosted a book event for my new book Stop Global Street Harassment: Growing Activism around the World. I was joined by seven co-presenters. Bisi Alimi is from Nigeria and lives in London; Gaya Branderhorst of Straatintimidatie is from the Netherlands and lives in New York; Alicia Wallace of Hollaback! Bahamas is from the Bahamas and just moved to New York; Ileana Jiménez is a high school teacher in New York City who talks about street harassment with her students; she brought two of her students who shared their stories, Shana and StellaRose; and Brittany Brathwaite is a community organizer for Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) in New York City.
We discussed what street harassment looks like in our communities, various activism actions underway to address it, and why it is so important to talk to youth about it (because they may already be experiencing it and perpetrating it and because street harassment is learned behavior that can be unlearned — or ideally, never learned). There was a rich Q&A with the audience. Two women documentarians filmed the event and will be sharing the footage with me soon. I’ll post it when I have it.
GGE, Ileana’s and Alicia’s work are all featured in my book.
Lastly, on Nov. 6, I spoke with Ileana’s high school students at Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City. Many of them are already routinely experiencing street harassment as well as sexual harassment in schools. Many thanks to Ileana for bringing this issue into the classroom and for caring so much about his students.Share on Facebook