Did you know that many common street harassment behaviors are illegal under state laws like Disorderly Conduct, Invasion of Privacy, and Sexual Misconduct?
SSH’s publication Know Your Rights: Street Harassment and the Law (PDF) and companion web feature detail the relevant laws state-by-state, examine how the laws apply to different types of street harassment, and list the steps people need to take to make a report.
While there is no “best” way to deal with street harassment, since every situation and every person differs, SSH aims to equip people with as much information as possible about their rights so they can make an informed decision. Armed with that knowledge, they can decide whether or not they want to report harassers to law enforcement, especially for crimes like up-skirt photos, public masturbation, stalking, and groping.
Additionally, the toolkit highlights some of the best laws relating to street harassment. People can see which laws could be strengthened in their own state/s to better address street harassment and then advocate for those legal improvements.
Ending street harassment requires a multi-pronged approach, including education, awareness campaigns, and engaging the legal system. While laws will never be THE answer—and in some cases they can be problematic when they are applied disproportionally to low-income people and persons of color—they can influence societal attitudes about what is and is not okay. Additionally, laws include consequences to deter harassment and, as many harassers are repeat offenders, reporting incidents may prevent future crimes.
Please contact Stop Street Harassment at hkearl @stopstreetharassment.org with any questions, interview requests, suggestions, and additional information you think we should include in the toolkit.
Authors and Collaborators
The creation of the toolkit was a team effort led by Talia Hagerty with support from Holly Kearl, Whitney Ripplinger, Rickelle Mason, Alan Kearl, and Elizabeth Bolton.
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