Volunteer Opportunities for Fall 2015 (and beyond)!

SSH programs, volunteer | on September, 29, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

Be a street harassment star!Do you want to do something about street harassment?

Do you need volunteer hours?

Are you a student who needs credit hours doing work for a nonprofit?

If you are any of these things, I have a solution!

Did you know that all of the work that SSH does is by volunteers? It is, and we need a few more volunteers to help out with several important projects!


If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please get in touch with me, Holly, hkearl@

Social Media:

I’m looking for five individuals who are willing to help manage the SSH social media accounts, one day/week (it will be “your” day). Primarily these are the Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube pages as well as the Anti-Street Harassment Week Facebook page. People can come from anywhere in the world and knowing more than one language is a plus so we can share content and in more than English.

If you are interested, please email me info 1) about your experience with social media (which platforms, how many years, if you’ve volunteered or worked for an organization managing social media accounts), 2) a few sentences about who you are, 3) where you are based, and 4) and your availability (for how many months are you available and are any days of the week that you typically will NOT be available).

Ideally, I’d like someone who can start by mid-October and help out at least through the end of 2015, but ideally into the spring.


I need occasional help transcribing videos to make them accessible for all. For example, these four videos. No prior experience with transcription is necessary, but if you have it, let me know about it. Please also send 1) a few sentences about who you are and 2) where you are based.

Research Projects:

I’d love to have one or two people who can assist with a few projects this fall. The amount of work/hours can be flexible. Here are examples of possible projects.

1. Research what cities have LGBT liaison units for their police departments.

2. Look for new laws and update the 2013 Know Your Rights toolkit.

3. Help track new anti-street harassment groups, organizations and campaigns worldwide.

4. Conduct interviews for the SSH blog with groups/activists doing interesting work.

Please send 1) information about relevant work you’ve done, 2) a resume), 3) a few sentences about who you are and 4) where you are based.

Campaigns Against Companies:

For a while I was tracking companies that promoted and/or trivialized street harassment in their marketing and/or product labels but I haven’t been able to keep up with it. I’m looking for someone who can help look for examples, update this webpage, and occasionally take the lead on campaigns, such as creating petitions (we will work on a strategy and select ones that we think we have the best change of winning and that can have a big impact).

Please send 1) information about relevant work you’ve done, 2) a resume), 3) a few sentences about who you are and 4) where you are based.

** If you have ideas for other ways you’d like to help with SSH’s work, feel free to be in touch with your suggestion. **

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Romania: When We’re Taught that Women are Not Equal to Men

correspondents | on September, 29, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

Roxana Geru, București, Romania, SSH Blog Correspondent

Silenced no more bannerAs a woman raised in Romania, I have been taught that I am not equal with a man. It is not necessarily my family who taught me, but my school, my friends, the church, and the SOCIETY. For a long time, I really believed it. I believed that I cannot do or I am not supposed to do some things, just because I am a woman. Like if a woman wears short pants she is considered a sexual worker, who “asks for it.” Or if a woman dares to drink a beer with a man she is an alcoholic. Or it a horrible thing to see a girl eating in McDonald’s.

Instead, it is believed that all a woman is supposed to do is be pretty, cook and give birth.

During my teens I felt upset. I did not understood why it was forbidden for me to do some things that were not for my best friend, who was a guy. And I cried. But after a few years I accepted that people have different points of view. I started to see equality as a thing which involves rights and obligations as well. And to accept that men can naturally be more physical strong than women, but that does not mean that all guys have to be strong or all the girls have be less strong. That maybe we are not born equal, but we should all have an equal chance to get where we want.

A few months ago I was at a university helping students who wanted to join the Psychology Faculty. At the beginning, we had to explain to them that they had to pay a fee and then come back. Everything seemed to be okay until one guy came back in this public institution and started to yell at us that he did wrong because of us. This “us” refers to a group of six women and a guy. Some of us tried to calm him down and explain to him that he was wrong and he misunderstood. We even came to him with some solutions for his problem. When a woman, a friend of mine, tried to speak to him, he yelled at her, “I do not speak to you. You are a woman. You are a woman and you do not have statute.”

My friend and I did not have any idea how we should reply because he became very verbally aggressive toward us.

I was shocked to see a guy around my age say that women do not have any statute. That women are nothing but objects who have to be pretty and produce kids. I wonder how that guy acts at home with his mother, his sister, his girlfriend. How will he act with his daughter? What he will teach his daughter? How will he react when his daughter comes home and says that another guy punched her. Will he defend her? Or he will congratulate the other guy?

I know my story is not exactly about street harassment, but it shows what it is like to be a woman in Romanian society. It is about how some of us are educated. It is one of the reasons why women in Romania are street harassed. It can be an answer to the question of “Why, as a woman in Romania, can someone touch my back?” or “Why, as a woman, in Romania, do some guys whistle after me?” and “Why does no one do something when someone rapes a girl?”

We have to see our culture change if we want to see street harassment and other forms of sexual violence end.

Roxana is a 21-year-old who is studying psychology and plans to do a master’s program in Sexuality and Gender Studies. She hopes to one day work within the LGBT community, with sexual workers and/or with people who are suffering from sexuality disorders.

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“Does the carpet match the curtains?”

Stories, street harassment | on September, 28, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

I get verbal abuse from strangers on a weekly basis, not just on the street but also in the supermarket while I’m doing my weekly shopping.


Because i have pink hair! What a pathetic reason to abuse someone! There are two types of people who do this: 1. The people coming up and saying they hate my hair, or just simply laughing and pointing and 2. The men who ask me, “Does the carpet match the curtains?” or comments about how i must be kinky in bed.

I’ve also had people come up and touch my hair without warning. I’m not going to change my hair colour because i like it and also the advantage is that with people behaving like this, i can weed out the people i don’t want to associate with very easily! They make it easier for me to identify who is an ******* without me even having to spend any time on them :)

– Anonymous

Location: Liverpool, Leicester, Birmingham, Coventry, UK. On the street, in shops/supermarkets

Share your street harassment story for the blog.
See the book 50 Stories about Stopping Street Harassers for more idea

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Nepal: She ‘Almost’ Lives

correspondents | on September, 27, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

Smriti RDN Neupane, Nepal, SSH Blog Correspondent

She almost runs, in the drizzling rain,
towards the last bus of the evening, or so they said
Up the road
She almost runs under the drizzling rain
Her body putting in all the strength she has onto the ‘almost’ running,
crying out silently, for some rest, for peace,
Her body aching to be not- groped, on her way

Her body has a Saree
Draped around it like a vine creeping up
the only thing that covers her ‘dignity’,
A whisk of strong wind would blow the shield away,
She ought to hold it with her hands,
her hands, she can’t put it free, cannot fling it while she walks,
Her coarse, broad hands trying to grip to the hope that she is safe

Her hands have a bag
and bangles that jingle with her every step,
She gropes to them; the saree and the bag,
as if her life depends on it,
She walks hastily, almost running, her feet trying hard to move fast
but the vines around her not giving them enough space
Her feet trying so hard,
Hoping the path she travelled was as dry and clean as she would like

Her feet have slippers,
They keep slipping on the slippery slope
Sometimes plunges in the puddle
while her feet desperately trying to stay steady
She cannot miss the bus
when it’s already getting dark,
Not when she has probably five eager, hungry adult stomachs to cook for, at a place called home

Other adults around her,
they look, keep looking, at her vines,
and the lines beneath those vines,
The lines that peek through the vines when a gust of wind blows it,
The lines, she is desperately trying to shield
with those vines from the prying eyes,
Her eyes, mapping those eyes
She almost runs to the bus,
The bus isn’t still, keeps rolling away slowly,
slow enough to jump in

The bus has a small door
and it’s open, yet jammed,
Seven of them trying to get in, twelve trying to get out
at the same time
She can’t leave now,
not after the second bus just got missed, not when it’s turning dark
On her attempt to get in
She feels a hand pushing on her behind
Pushing her to go inside and that hand is not trying to be discreet

That hand also has a mouth
Tells her to get in fast if she wants to go
She recognizes the tone,
and the way those hands push her every time
She manages to get inside.
manages to grab the handle- too high for her
Her hands high up towards the handles,
Her lines exposed, the vines would not protect her

There are bodies all around her
Bodies have hands
and other parts
There is an occasional pull and push, occasional tug
Her vines and her lines
also her hair,
all exposed
There is frequent touch,
and pokes she doesn’t want to talk about
She dissociates herself from the present
Becomes numb to the happenings around her,
To her.
She thinks about work
She thinks about the struggle to prove herself every day, every time, every where
The bus rides along, oblivious of what is going on its inside and her inside.

She gets down on her stop
And the bus with a small door swirls along the road,
With her
Few parts of her

She thinks about tomorrow
“Tomorrow is going to be a better day”
She dreams while she walks towards the place she calls home,
The roads, rides and respect she deserves
She will get
She has hope!

Smriti coordinated Safe cities campaign in Nepal with a team of feminist activists of various organisations, networks and community groups from 2011 to 2014 and is still voluntarily engaged with it. She is currently engaged in an action research and advocacy on women’s leadership in climate change adaptation focusing on women’s time use.

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Queer in Public Ends

public harassment, Resources | on September, 26, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

Queer in public

After 2+ years of posting photos of queer couples showing affection in public — “a simple idea built on the foundation that visibility begets change” — Queer in Public has published its last post, closing out on the high note of being included in the book anthology Feminist Utopia Project.

Founder Courtney writes:

“To the three men in 2011 who whispered sexually explicit homophobic slurs in my ear, who shouted homophobic slurs loudly across Union Square, who stood closely behind me as I refilled my metro card, angrily ranting: this is for you.

To Mollie and and Mary, the couple, both shot in their heads on a summer night in Texas, 2012.

To Marc Carson, shot dead in the West Village in 2012.

To Keyshia, Jasmine, Tamara, Shade, Amber, and the number of other trans women of color killed this year alone.

The better world needs continuous creating, I am thankful to my peers who are doing the work and I’m proud QUIP has been a part of that creation…. Thank you to every single person who gave/gives a damn about this project. It’s been the best run.”

Thanks for your work, Courtney!

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USA: NO, girls, don’t loiter on the streets! Gendered access to public spaces in India

correspondents, street harassment | on September, 25, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

Meghna Bhat, Chicago, USA, SSH Blog Correspondent

Three women in Mumbia | Wikipedia

Three women in Mumbia | Wikipedia

As I got into the car last week, my husband told me a segment on women’s rights in India that was going to start on NPR radio. As I tuned in, the correspondent spoke about how a group of young women in Mumbai started cultivating a movement called Why Loiter?

These young women believe that we (as women) should be able to hang out with friends or be alone in public spaces, just because we want to and feel like. We don’t need to give a possible reason to anyone! Women are often excluded from claiming public spaces in India on the pretext of keeping them safe. They are warned not to ‘loiter’ or ‘hang out’ in public spaces and if they are, a man or family should accompany them.

That’s when I remembered how many times I was told the same thing during my school and college days and when I worked at different places. “Don’t go out or stay late in the dark,” “That road is very deserted so take the alternate road where it’s brighter”, “Don’t loiter around- wait closer to a bus-stop so it looks like you are waiting for a bus”, “Talk to a friend on your cell phone if there’s a potential pervert walking around so he doesn’t approach you”, “Wear appropriate clothes if you are going out at this time”, “Avoid standing alone or with your girlfriends at this paan-shop (tobacco shop) or dhaaba (street diner)…people shouldn’t misunderstand you” and “don’t take the late night train home on this route as there are barely any commuters, so take the bus”. “Hanging out or loitering in public spaces just for fun, absolutely NOT!”

Did years of blindly and sincerely following these warnings and messages make us less exposed to sexual harassment — or what India calls ‘eve-teasing’? Did these measures lessen our experiences of being catcalled, groped or pinched, or being sexually assaulted and attacked by some men? The answer is NO.

I wonder how much time, mental stamina and efforts I and many other women have sub-consciously and unintentionally invested in avoiding being a target of harassment or unwanted unpleasant attention. Examples of changes include planning my daily schedule, deciding what public transport to take, figuring out what time to leave and return home, and what clothes to wear depending on what time of the day and which neighborhood. There is an underlying implication that we are likely to be at risk for sexual harassment or assault if we wander outside our homes and we need to stop loitering out in public spaces to keep ourselves safe.

My parents never necessarily gave this advice to us (my younger sister and me) but these were the very obvious strong messages that we as Indian girls and women have been conditioned to hear from our society and popular culture such as films and TV serials. Don’t get me wrong- the advice is well intentioned from a parents’ perspective and it is overall good to take precautions, but these messages are mostly pelted to girls than boys. What messages are we giving to our young girls and boys? Who are likely to be ‘victims’? In India, the gender-biased advice, policing and curfew for the safety of girls and women is likely to stem from deeply embedded cultural norms and practices of raising daughters in the past.

The Why Loiter? movement was drawn from the book written by Shilpa Phadke, Sameera Khan and Shilpa Ranade (2011). This powerful book, based on the research between 2003 and 2006 in the City of Mumbai, highlights how the 21st century Indian society deals with women’s safety. The authors argue how women from different castes, social classes, neighborhoods and communities in Mumbai have been excluded from many public avenues and additionally, have to plan and negotiate their lifestyle, daily schedule, transport and work to prevent from being at risk everyday. Grounded in feminist perspectives, the authors further suggests that “loitering should be celebrated, not reviled, as an act that offers possibilities for a more inclusive city where all people have a right to city public spaces.”

Even though I have been living away from my hometown for the past 11 years, I wish I had come across a similar movement that encouraged young girls and women in Mumbai to claim public spaces without negotiating, hangout with girl friends just for fun, take a nap in the park, to chit chat until late night, and to enjoy food at street diners. So, after I read the book Why Loiter? in 2013, I started researching if there were similar social movements. One particular fascinating example that I came across is the #GirlsAtDhabas that young girls and women in Karachi, Pakistan, are promoting. I say, more power to these girls and women!

By focusing on young girls and women’s rights in India, this blog does not intend to trivialize the daily sexual harassment and structural violence our transgender and LGBTQI friends in our cities encounter in these same public spaces. Is it not possible to share these public spaces for everyone to hang out, loiter or just enjoy a late night ice cream at the neighborhood stall, without being stared at, questioned, judged, or harassed and policed?

Meghna is a doctoral candidate in the Criminology, Law, and Justice program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, with a specialization in Gender and Women Studies. She is currently working on her dissertation, which focuses on representations of violence against women in a widely viewed form of Indian popular culture, Bollywood cinema.

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Stop Global Street Harassment Book Release Event!

Events, Resources, street harassment | on September, 24, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

Stop Global Street Harassment AU book eventLast 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, Sawsan (back), Patrick, Noorjahan, and Lauren (front)

(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.

ssh blog

Noorjahan speaking during Q&A. SSH board members Holly, Patrick and Maureen. Defend Yourself founder Lauren Taylor.

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!

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SSH will not publish any comment that is offensive or hateful and does not add to a thoughtful discussion of street harassment. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, disabalism, classism, and sexism will not be tolerated. Disclaimer: SSH may use any stories submitted to the blog in future scholarly publications on street harassment.