16 Days of Activism: Day 2 – Teenagers Speak Out

16 days | on November, 26, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

More than half of all people in the USA who have experienced street harassment said they experienced it by the time they were 17 years old. That’s one reason why it’s so important to talk to teenagers about street harassment.

Our board member Manuel Abril is a prevention educator in video/art programming and community organizing at Our Family Services in Tucson, AZ. In this capacity, he has worked as sexual violence prevention educator for 7 years with Safe Streets AZ and developed social creativity projects with Hey Baby | Art Against Sexual Violence and ACT OUT youth film program.

He and the teenagers he works with made this video for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence.

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Suggested Changes in the Philippines: Sexual Harassment Measures Beyond the Office

correspondents, street harassment | on November, 26, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

Angie Evans, Washington, DC, SSH Blog Correspondent

Halfway through our trip to the Philippines, I forced myself to change. I didn’t have a near death experience or attend transcendental meditation. I questioned myself because I was looking around a strip club that doubled as a midget boxing ring and realized that I hadn’t looked any of the female servers in the eyes. Eye contact is the most important nonverbal human interaction we can have with one another and I was unconsciously refusing to participate because I was uncomfortable. I forced myself to stop and talk with the next server who walked by. Half naked, she sat next to me, relieved for a moment to rest her feet.

The Philippines is simultaneously known for two cultural norms: matriarchy and male-domination. Although Filipino women have maintained a higher level of status than many other countries in Asia because of bilateral kinship, women continue to demonstrate these dueling norms. Based on a Grant Thornton International Business Report, 40% of senior roles in the Philippines are filled by women and 7% of the CEO’s in the country are women[1]. Why then has 1 in 5 experienced violence at home and 30-40% sexually harassed in the workplace?[2]

Power is closely linked with physical and sexual violence. “Sexual harassment is a subtle rape, and rape is more about fear than sex,” said Dr. John Gottman, a psychologist at the University of Washington. “Harassment is a way for a man to make a woman vulnerable.” And street sexual harassment is not just an annoyance; it’s a degradation that slowly chips away at your safety and self-worth.

The sex industry in the Philippines is world-famous and accounts for nearly 40% of male tourism there.[3] The single biggest factor in a man, woman, or child entering the sex trade is poverty. And 1 in 5 families in the Philippines fall below the poverty line.[4] This means that a family of 5 makes less than $175 a month. In 2012, analysts estimated that these families need about 26% more income each month to get out of poverty. That’s only about $45 a month for us but it’s an impossible amount for many others.

It’s not surprising then that in a city like Manila, with so many powerful women and such high poverty, an entire empire of sexual subordination has grown. Some estimate that there are nearly 800,000 Filipino prostitutes[5]. For these women and men, this is a substantial income for their families – keeping them out of poverty and providing for a good chunk of the remittances that are sent back to the Philippines. The economic base of sex work cannot be denied so how then can Congress deny the need to make it minimally safe?

Many cited that women’s safety as the reason for passing the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, the first of it’s kind in the country. Interestingly though, it makes no attempt to end street harassment or to make it better for women in their clearly growing sex industry. That is why after 18 years, many are calling for an expansion of the law.

National women’s groups, policy organizations, and a small group of unionized sex workers have each laid out measures that could strengthen the nation’s enforcement and protections against sexual harassment. The House and the Senate hasn’t pursued any of the suggested measures but my hope is that the Philippine government is able to humble itself and hear the plea from this diverse interest group. You never know what your impact will be when you pause your own habits.

[1] Grant Thornton International

[2] End Violence Against Women Now

[3] “Who is to blame for sex tourism?” Al Jazeera news

[4] The Philippine Statistics Authority

[5] Senator Pia Cayetano

Angie is a community organizer and social worker. Last year she quit her job to travel around the world with her husband. They have just returned and are continuing to write about travel and adventure at

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“Getting in my face with a glass bottle in his hand’

Stories, street harassment | on November, 26, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

I was trying to get a taxi home after a night out with a friend. Unfortunately I had to wait 20 minutes outside a cab office for the cab to come. It was not the safest area. There was a club near the cab station where an intimidating guy around 6ft who was not in the best state came towards the cab office with a group of youth. When I asked the cab controller where my cab was I was grabbed and pulled towards the guy who was intoxicated and who also wanted to make a move on me. I pushed him aside and told him ‘not to touch me please’ which then resulted into him getting in my face with a glass bottle in his hand and he started throwing verbal threats and insults at me stating ‘ Girls like you think your too F***ing nice’.

During this time two cabs that were passing the cab office who were meant to pick up my friend and myself both drove off without any intentions of stopping to help.  Luckily one of the youth was able to maintain and calm him down from things escalating further. The night then progressed further with me and my friend then being circled and intimidated by two youth on bikes, whom were both trying to make a move on us as well. Luckily a cab finally came, but because we felt so unsafe because of the area and what we experienced we put on the safety lock within the cab. I had an uneasy ride home just thinking about the fact that you can’t expect people out there to look out for you. You have to watch your own back.

- Michaela Graham

Location: Northeast London

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

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Women protest from Nairobi to Delhi

News stories, street harassment | on November, 25, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

Via The Daily Nation:

“Women protest on Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi, Kenya, on November 17, 2014, against street harassment, demanding the arrest of the men who stripped a lady naked when she was on the street.”

Via ABC News


“In this photo by Saurabh Das, female police cadets undergo martial arts training at an institute in New Delhi. The cadets will undergo rigorous training for up to three years and then train other female cadets who will be deployed in sensitive parts of the Indian capital to prevent eve teasing, or street harassment of women, as well as molestation and other crimes.”


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USA joins UN’s Global Safe Cities Initiative!

16 days, News stories, street harassment | on November, 25, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and First Lady of New York Chirlane McCray, following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding to work together for a safer New York, through UN Women’s Safe Cities initiative. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

The USA is now part of UN Women’s Global Safe Cities Initiative, an effort that started four years ago in just five countries and has expanded to nearly 20 countries.

The Initiative is “the first-ever
global comparative programme that develops, implements, and evaluates comprehensive approaches to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls in public spaces.”

Via UN Women:

UN Women and the City of New York today signed an agreement to work together in order to enhance the safety and empowerment of women and girls. It is the first such agreement signed between the City and a United Nations entity. As part of the pact, the City will support public education and advocacy efforts organized by UN Women in the context of the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, the visionary roadmap for gender equality adopted by 189 governments in 1995. The City will also join the Safe Cities Global Initiative.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Chirlane McCray, the City’s First Lady, signed the Memorandum of Understanding at UN Headquarters during the official UN commemoration of the International Day to End Violence against Women. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka welcomed New York to a worldwide partnership that includes cities in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin America.

“We deeply appreciate the commitment of the City of New York to make the streets and public spaces safe for women and girls,” said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka. “With this agreement, New York City demonstrates its global leadership as a champion of women’s security and gender equality. We look forward to working together in this important partnership.”

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USA: Nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men feel unsafe in their own neighborhood at night

News stories, Resources, street harassment | on November, 25, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

The results of the Gallup’s annual Crime survey, conducted Oct. 12-15, was released yesterday. More than one-third, or 37%, of U.S. adults say they would not feel safe walking alone near their home at night. Gallup says this is in line with the historical average for the question (39%), which dates back to 1965.

However, Gallup notes:

While the percentage of Americans saying they do not feel safe walking alone within a mile of their home at night has remained steady over the past decade, there has been a considerable shift in Americans’ views on this question over the past 30 years. While falling crime rates have not necessarily affected Americans’ perceptions of crime on a national level, they have been felt in neighborhoods and communities across the country.

Nonetheless, women are among the groups that feel the least safe, suggesting the benefits of falling crime rates have not been evenly felt by all. Other groups, such as the young and lower-income individuals, are also more likely to worry about their own safety.”

Indeed, nearly half of all women, 45%, said they do not feel safe walking alone at night, compared with 27% of men. Gallup also found that young adults aged 18 to 29 and individuals earning less than $30,000 annually (compared with those making at least $75,000) were most likely to feel unsafe.

Two years ago, Gallup conducted a similar survey globally and found that no matter the country – developing of developed – there was a gender gap in how safe people felt walking alone at night.

No country has achieved gender equality and no country ever will as long as more women than men feel unsafe in their own neighborhoods.

H/T Chai Shenoy

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16 Days of Activism: Day 1

16 days, street harassment | on November, 25, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

Today is the International Day to End Violence against Women and the first day of The Official 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign

Our board member Layla is chalking messages to raise awareness.

You can use #16Days on Twitter and make a Twibbon for social media profiles.
How will you speak out against gender violence?

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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.