Everyone in Oakland has encountered street harassment. Maybe you've been harassed, maybe you've seen someone being harassed, maybe you've even (hopefully not) harassed someone. There's an international movement of local activists to stop this nonsense: Hollaback! This amazing organization is the inspiration for this page. Here, we hope to create a place where people can describe incidents of street harassment and go a step further: "understand what street harassment is, why it continues to happen, and how we can end it to ensure that everyone has equal access to public spaces." (see: Who has your Back? Harassment on our Streets by Helen McBride.)
Street harassment is a lot of things, but mostly, it's a form of intimidation. People who are harassed are sometimes told it's a form of flattery: "ooh, you're so sexy" has a nice ring, but doesn't serve to make the harassed feel powerful in this context. So what can we do about it? Hollaback! suggests some tips for bystanders like checking in with the target and distracting or confronting the harasser. They provide a helpful cartoon for etiquette on what is and isn't street harassment. And they give tips on what to do when harassed such as saying something firmly, walking away or not engaging. Each situation is different of course.
This space is for talking about your experiences with street harassment. What happened? Where? Did anyone help? What did it feel like? (note: totally cool to be anonymous. no need to make a log in, no need to log in. just tell your story!)
For example, this blog by mk30 talks about how hard it is to confront street harassers: will they hurt her? And why can't we just be ourselves and look like ourselves without being treated like an object? Street harassment is oppressive both because of the pain of being treated like an object and dehumanized and the pain of feeling disempowered (knowing that you can't stand up for yourself without the risk of being hurt).