Documenting Street Harassment in the USA

Countless people have shared personal street harassment stories and the limited research suggests at least 80 percent of women, some straight men, and most members of the LGBQT community experience street harassment, yet many people continue to downplay it’s seriousness.

They may say, “I don’t see it, so it must not be a problem,” or “You’re over-reacting, find something else to complain about,” or “With the way girls dress these days, what do you expect?” or “Stay home or put a bag over your head if you don’t like it,” or, “One person’s flirting is another person’s harassment.” (Seriously, these are things people say.)

To date, there has never been a comprehensive national study on the topic. Thus, a national study is critically needed to PROVE street harassment is a problem in the United States and to inform campaigns and tactics to stop it.

Stop Street Harassment plans to undertake this study. Please donate to make the study possible. It will entail:

* 1,000 women and 1,000 men ages 18-30 taking a 15 minute online survey. The sample will be nationally representative and the respondents will be selected randomly through the postal system.

* Questions will focus on prevalence, type, impact on people’s lives, why people harass, and ideas for change. It will include questions about harassment based on gender-identity and sexual orientation.

* SSH will also conduct at least 10 focus groups with populations that face higher rates of street harassment (e.g. Native Americans, teenagers, transgender individuals, sex workers, homeless women, and gay or bisexual men).


* Writing Questions: Stop Street Harassment will write the survey questions. The advisory team comprised of Ph D-level sociologists, demographers, and political scientists and anti-street harassment activists will provide input. (Cost: $0)

* Surveying: The top surveying firm GfK Custom Research LLC will conduct the actual survey and ensure that it is nationally representative. They will conduct a pre-survey of 30 people. SSH will be able to edit and adjust survey questions as necessary based on their responses before conducting the full survey of 2,000 people ages 18-30. (Cost Estimate: $47,000)

* Analyzing: SSH will work with social scientist consultants to analyze the data (Cost: $5,000)

* Report: SSH will release a short report with the study findings and recommendations. It will also include information from discussion groups SSH is facilitating this fall with under-represented groups, including Native American young adults, sex workers, and transgender individuals (Printing & Production Cost: $5,000).

Please donate!


In 2011, SSH founder and then American Association of University Women Program Manager Holly Kearl co-authored a national study on sexual harassment in grades 7-12. Kearl and her co-author Dr. Catherine Hill wrote the survey questions, analyzed the data, and wrote the research report, but GfK Custom Research LLC, named Knowledge Networks at the time, conducted the survey. Because Knowledge Networks has sound surveying methods and extensive experience conducting surveys the AAUW study was featured in AP, New York Times, Washington Post, Education Week, NPR, and more. Knowledge Networks was easy to work with, professional, and prompt.

The White House administration called the survey the “gold standard” for studying the topic.


Maureen Evans Arthurs
Robin Bedilion
Jan Bindas-Tenney
Heather Brown
Catherine Burlington
Karen Fisher-Baird
Elizabeth Bolton
Anita Botello-Santoyo
Katherine Broendel
Nuala Cabral
Nicole Barone Callahan
Soraya Chemaly
Kimberly Ciani
Suzanne DeFelice
Moira Donohue
Kate Farrar
Christine Hernandez
Dienna Howard
Kira Hug
Chris Hutchens
Mark Hutchens
Steve & Sandi Hutchens
Alan Kearl
Holly Kearl
Joseph Kearl
Mary Kearl
Rachel Kearl
Caitlin R Kelley
Akbar Khorakiwala
Zabie Khorakiwala
Jeffrey Kidder
Michael Kipp
Marty Langelan
Debbie Lewis
Melissa Lewis
Lilangel Logan
Helen Luryi
Alice Lynn
Lucinda Marshall
Carlynne McDonnell
Ben Merrion
Daniel Nasaw
Tremayne Parquet
Frankie & Tripp Pettigrew-Rolapp
Kelsey Poole
Oraia Reid
Elaine Replogle
Emily Resnick
Adrian Richwell
Aminah Mae Safi
Dr. Hugo Schwyzer
Dr. Pamela Scully
Chai Shenoy
Joanne Smith
Kathryn Stamoulis
Laura Stepp
Linda Strout
Lauren R. Taylor
Relando Thompkins
Dr. Nancy Unger
Elizabeth Vandenburg
Laura Webb
Mark Webster
Beckie Weinheimer
Janice Weinheimer
Russell Weinheimer
Kerry Weinheimer
Veronica Weis

Post to Twitter