International Anti-Street Harassment Day – March 20, 2011

5298090398_64083dc31esq.jpg I don’t think I know any women who have not experienced street harassment of one kind of another. Harassment for being ugly, beautiful, thin, fat, big breasted, small breasted, disabled, white, black, Asian, trans, butch, femme, and any other aspect of being female you can possibly think of, occurs all the time.

Almost three years ago, Laura wrote a post entitled, Hands up if you’ve experienced street harassment, and the comments still come in regularly. Three years of women’s experience of street harassment are documented in those comments, and I doubt they will stop coming in any time soon. The London Hollaback site tells a similar story.

Many activists are a bit skeptical about symbolic days ‘for’ or ‘against’ actions or attitudes. The feeling that, while it may feel good to wear a certain colour, or a ribbon, it only lasts for one day, and little productive is actually achieved. However, when I read about the first ever International Anti-Street Harassment Day, it felt different. Holly has listed 10 ideas on how to take action, starting with telling our stories. If our nearly three-year-old post is anything to go by, women do feel a benefit in sharing experiences, and the whole thread is testimony to this.

Other awareness raising and actions are suggested, and of course you can come up with your own too. You can add your planned actions to a global crowdmap, and get inspired by what is being planned in other places. Feel free to add the details of your activities for and around the day, to this post too in the comments.

One of the very, very few things I like about winter is that when I’m all wrapped up in layers of clothes, men don’t notice my breasts so much. It doesn’t stop harassment, of course, I had my own experience of disability hate from a stranger in the street only a few weeks ago, but as spring approaches, knowing that I will soon be wearing fewer clothes does bring a dread of the onslaught of “You don’t get many of them to the pound!” remarks. So it seems a perfect time of year to take group action, and to tell our stories.

Photo by Alex Castro, licensed with a Creative Commons Licence.