We believe that street harassment impedes gender equality and must be taken seriously. Because street harassment is often an invisible problem (especially to people in power) and it is dismissed as being a “minor annoyance,” a “joke,” or the fault of the harassed person, our primarily focus right now is simply to document the problem and demonstrate why it’s a human rights violation that must be addressed.
What We Do:
Online Resources: The SSH website is the go-to resource for information about street harassment, including prevalence statistics, tips for dealing with harassers and how to be a male ally. Individuals from more than 30 countries submit their street harassment stories for the SSH blog and relevant news and activism is featured on the blog, too.
Correspondents Program: During six month cohorts, up to 15 correspondents from around the world contribute monthly articles about street harassment in their communities.
Research: SSH’s founder Holly Kearl conducted two online surveys for a master’s thesis and then a book. SSH is currently fundraising to be able to conduct the first-ever national study on street harassment in the United States (donate here). To supplement the 2,000-person survey, numerous focus groups are being conducted with under-represented groups.
Media: Ms. Kearl regularly gives media interviews on the topic and writes articles for outlets like Huffington Post, Guardian, Ms., and Women’s Media Center. She also wrote one of the only books on the subject, Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women (Praeger, 2010).
Talks: Ms. Kearl regularly gives talks on street harassment on college campuses, in high schools, and to community groups (invite her to speak at your event). She’s also testified about street harassment before the New York City and Washington, D.C. City Councils and presented at numerous conferences.
International Anti-Street Harassment Week: Each spring, SSH organizes more than 100 groups (there were 150 groups in 2013) around the world to take action against street harassment in their community during International Anti-Street Harassment Week.
Safe Public Spaces Mentoring Program: Starting as a pilot July – October 2013, through the SPS Mentoring Program, SSH is working with three groups in Afghanistan, Cameroon, and Chicago, USA, to advise them on local anti-street harassment initiatives. Each group receives a small amount of funding from SSH to offset their expenses.
Toolkits: SSH provides resources for people who want to take community action.
Washington, D.C. Activism: SSH is based in the Washington, D.C.-area and has led or co-led various initiatives there. Along with Collective Action for Safe Spaces, SSH is part of a task force that works with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority on addressing sexual harassment on the Metro trains and buses. In 2011, SSH co-led community safety audits and helped with a city march called Our Streets Too!
Image by Julie Mastrine