In recognition of International Women’s Day, here’s a taste of the latest street harassment activism occurring in Egypt and India.
The Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights has been engaged in a widespread campaign to end the sexual harassment of women in the country, including on the streets (street harassment). Last year they conducted and published a study about the high rate of harassment that made headlines around the world and, combined with two high profile street harassment cases last year, may lead to better laws this year. Currently, they are preparing to launch a HarassMap project later in 2009:
“This project will implement a system in Egypt for reporting incidences of sexual harassment via SMS messaging. This tool will give women a way to anonymously report incidences of sexual harassment as soon as they happen, using a simple text message from their mobile phone. By mapping these reports online, the entire system will act as an advocacy, prevention, and response tool, highlighting the severity and pervasiveness of the problem.”
When my life settles down some, I’d be very interested in trying out something similar in the U.S.!
In India, where street harassment is also a huge problem, Blank Noise activists have been engaged in various forms of activism against street harassment for years. Tonight they are holding a Taking Back the Night event:
“We are Taking Back The Night because we want to feel safe in our city. We are taking back the night because for too long our relationship with our city has been fear based. We Take Back the Night with you…Take Back The Night invites individuals, organisations, collectives, groups all to reclaim their city streets at night….Join us to intervene in the neighbourhoods where recent attacks on women took place. Pick a neighbourhood and call the coordinator for location details. Volunteers will hand out testimonials; engage with the public in discussion examining how we can act against violence (bystander ‘polls’ have been made and printed already to trigger discussion); drive people to the street theatre performances by Maraa in the Indiranagar, Ulsoor locations.”
I applaud both organizations for their amazing work to make public places safer for women in their countries.