Today at noon, members of the Madison chapter of the National Organization for Women kicked off our local Street Harassment Awareness Week with a literature drop in Madison. We shared information about street harassment with pedestrians on State street, Capitol Square, and on Campus. We also gave women and men cards that they can use to respond to street harassment.
Front: Your Behavior is Harassment: It is unwelcome, unpleasant, disrespectful, and rude. STOP IT!
Back: Street harassment is any action or comment between strangers in public places that is disrespectful, unwelcome, threatening and/or harassing and is motivated by gender or sexual orientation. – StopStreetHarassment.org. In Wisconsin, you could be charged with disorderly conduct or harassment for your behavior. You could be fined or even spend time in jail. More importantly, you’re making people feel unsafe. Please stop.
Our efforts today are a part of a week-long effort to educate about street harassment on our Facebook page, via Twitter, and here on our blog. We’ll be sharing resources on what street harassment is and how to deal with it. We’ll also be featuring testimonials from individuals who have experienced street harassment. If you’ve ever experienced Street Harassment, check back here on Monday for a link to a form you can use to report your experience. We’ll share it anonymously on our blog so that people can see how street harassment affects real women.
We’ll start our digital Street Harassment Awareness Week on Monday, April 21 and will continue through Friday, April 25.
We have chosen a week in April to focus on street harsasment, because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Street Harassment is another element of rape culture. Though anyone can be the victim of street harassment, women and members of the LGBTQ community experience harassment most often. Street Harassment serves to make members of those groups feel uncomfortable and unsafe, inhibiting our ability to live our lives with peace of mind and creating a barrier between us and full, free access to society. Street Harassment needs to stop.