What to Do Before or After Harassment

There are so many ways you can take action around street harassment in addition to action in the moment of harassment. Here are 12 of them.

1. Share your Stories in Person: Talk about your street harassment experiences with family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. A lot of people don’t realize how often it happens and how upsetting it is.  Maybe if more people knew, it would happen less and there would be less victim blaming if people realized that 80-100 percent of women face it at some point in their life.

2. Share your Stories Online: Post your street harassment story or tactic suggestions on a website or blog to raise awareness about the problem and/or to offer advice to others. 

3. Tweet your Stories: Tweet street harassment stories on Twitter. Add @catcalled #hollaback or #streetharassment to your post and it will be added to @Catcalled, @ihollaback, or @StopStHarassmnt’s respective thread of harassment stories. Keep your own log of harassment experiences the way @streetharassmnt does.

4. Post Information: Post anti-street harassment flyers, posters or signs (click on link for street signs) or hand out anti-street harassment flyer and cards. Here’s another example of a street harassment poster.

5. Write about It: Write and submit an article or op-ed about street harassment to a magazine or newspaper. An op-ed that journalist Elizabeth Mendez Berry wrote in the fall of 2010 led to the first ever city council hearing on street harassment in New York City!

6. Map It: Start mapping where you are harassed (google earth offers a free tool to do so with a tutorial) or contribute your story to someone who has a map to help visually show its volume. If there are patterns about where it occurs, then you can ask the police or a local business to help intervene in that area.

7. Report It: While reporting street harassment won’t always be the right or best solution for people, sometimes it is. Use our toolkit to find out what laws apply to street harassment in your state (if you’re in the USA) and how you can report it to the local police department.

8. Mentor Boys and Girls: If you are in a position of mentoring (as a family member, teacher, or friend) educate boys not to speak with disrespect to women and empower girls to stand up for themselves and challenge disrespectful behavior.

9. Be a Male Ally: Men, we need you as allies! Read about how men can help stop street harassment. I also recommend reading Brian Martin’s “Men: Help stop public harassment,” Jackson Katz’s The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help, and Todd Denny’s Unexpected Allies: Men Who Stop Rape.

10. Support Orgs & Initiatives: Volunteer time or donate money to fund anti-street harassment organizations, workshops, or community projects.

11. Take Self Defense: Take and/or encourage others to take self defense classes so they feel more empowered to safely confront their harasser(s). [Where I live there a great organization called Defend Yourself holds an annual workshop about dealing with street harassers]

12. Read about It: Learn more about street harassment by reading books like Stop Street Harassment and Back Off! Here is a list of other books, articles, and reports. Share them with your friends and family members.

13. Creatively Raise Awareness: Use your talents to raise awareness about street harassment. Examples:

Lucé Tomlin-Brenner’s stand-up comedy routine
Spoken Soul 215’s Vision performs spoken word
The Astronomical Kid‘s song Emily Swash‘s song

Liza Donnelly‘s comic

Barry Deutsch‘s comic

Suyin Looui’s video game (she created it for her master’s program and NYTimes reviewed it!)

Leah King’s one woman show “Can I get a smile?
Scary Godmother’s Bingo sheet

à la garconnière – street harassment invoice

Atozinco’s slideshow Fiona Lowenstein‘s and Bif Naked‘s poems

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