Street harassment in El Salvador & Costa Rica

September 30, 2010

Hi! i’m half Costa Rican, half Salvadorean, i’m surprised that this happens in so many places! and how often!

In both countries El Salvador and Costa Rica you’ll listen the same story, we all women are tired of this situation!!!! no matter if we wear a garbage bag (those big black ones) the only fact of being a girl it’s enough for them to say something to us!!!! this is disgusting!!! and i can’t stand it. This makes me angry when i go walking on the streets, i’m on a bus or even driving my car. It’s sad to feel this way every time you leave your house.

– Andrea Muñoz

Location: El Salvador/Costa Rica

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Include your location and it will be added to the Street Harassment Map.

Ken Livingstone, London mayoral candidate, takes on street harassment

September 29, 2010

This has been a big month for the London Anti Street Harassment (LASH) Campaign! In early September, they met with 2012 London Mayoral candidate Oona King and after the meeting, King agreed to make street harassment one of her campaign platforms!

This week LASH sent a letter to London mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone, and now he has agreed to also add street harassment to his campaign agenda! He wrote,

“I am concerned about street harassment of women and believe there is far more we need to do to tackle this problem.

I believe we should consider tougher deterrents and punishments to tackle this crime. We also need to provide far greater support for the victims of street harassment and other crimes.

This is an issue that needs to be taken more seriously, not just by the police but our schools, parents and the wider community.

It is essential that we send a clear message that street harassment of women is wrong and will not be tolerated.”

What amazing work by LASH Campaign founder Vicky Simister!! She’s a great role model for activists everywhere who want their political leaders to take this issue seriously.

This month, Vicky has also generated lots of great discussions about street harassment via appearances on the Mumsnet radio show, BBC radio 5, BBC London radio 94.5, and BBC Woman’s Hour. Keep it up!!

Idaho upskirter is jailed

September 29, 2010

In Idaho, video voyeurism is a felony and that’s why Mario Esquivel-Jimenez is in jail. Two different women caught him trying to take upskirt video footage of them at a Wal*Mart and they contacted the store manager. Then the Boise Police arrested him.


“It’s a felony,” said Lieutenant Steve Myers with Boise Police. “It’s a fairly new law on the books that was created to meet the needs of an ever-changing technology in society. So, we do use it quite a bit. It’s just one of those things that happen as times change. People take advantage of cell phones, to capture video that they should not be.”

Emphasis there was mine. It’s a good thing, if this is happening “quite a bit,” that it is illegal.

Mario Esquivel-Jimenez

Remember, if you are the target or see someone else being the target of public harassment (and this goes for any type, not just gender-based), you can report it. Yes, there’s a chance your report won’t be taken seriously, but at least you’ve tried. And then, in a case like this, what if it is taken seriously? Because of you, hopefully the perpetrator will be deterred from harming anyone else.

So many men think they’re entitled to women’s attention

September 28, 2010

I was walking to work today (which, ironically, is working at a nonprofit devoted to ending domestic violence), and on the way there, got hissed and whistled at. I brushed this off, didn’t think about it really anymore. Then on my way home, 2 men stared at me and one leered and said, “Miss, you dropped something.”

I turned around quickly without bending over, as I thought it was a trick. There was clearly nothing on the sidewalk, so I said, “Nope, nothing of mine,” and continued walking. Another man behind me did nothing to help. At this point I was very angry and almost starting to cry.

I reached the next corner and 2 different men said I should cross the street now, as no cars were coming. Then one held his hand up and said, “I can carry you across the street.” to which I said “No thank you, I’m fine.” They then purposefully walked behind me for the next 2 blocks shouting, “Sure are fine” and, “Shake that” and hootin and hollerin.

– Anonymous

Location: Franklin Avenue and Nicolette Avenue, Minneapolis

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Include your location and it will be added to the Street Harassment Map.

Is Stop Street Harassment available at your library?

September 27, 2010

I love visiting libraries and checking out books.

Growing up, on Saturday afternoons my sisters and I usually accompanied our dad while he ran errands. Often the first stop was the local library.

My sisters and I would pick out several books and start reading them as soon as we got to the car. Sometimes it was hard for my parents to get us to put them down again. In one family photo, I’m captured on film at age 10 vacuuming the house (one of my Saturday jobs) with a book in hand, trying to read and vacuum at the same time.

In college, I felt the best part about writing research papers was having an excuse to walk up and down the library stacks. I spent hours browsing through books, not infrequently finding myself sidetracked from the paper topic.

Today I still visit my local library at least once a month to stock up on books to read during my 2-2.5 hour round-trip daily work commute.

I appreciate that over my lifetime, I’ve been able to read hundreds of books for free. If I had had to buy every book I wanted to read, I simply wouldn’t have been able to afford it (what book lover would)?

And now my love of books has led me to write my own about a topic I am very passionate about: street harassment.

My book is relatively expensive (you can find it for 20% off online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble), and I know that $35 or $45 for a book is not realistic for everyone.

Thank goodness library books are free!

Does your library carry Stop Street Harassment in its catalog?

If not and if you want to become better informed about street harassment and learn how you can help stop  it, & if you want people in your community to as well, consider requesting Stop Street Harassment:  Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women for your local library.

On your local library’s website, they likely will have a page called “Suggest a Title” or “Suggest a Book.” To request the book, you will need to provide your library card number, the book title (above) and author’s name (Holly Kearl). If they need an age range, it’s for teenagers and adults.

“Golden Silence,” a woman who has shared several of her street harassment stories on this blog, requested Stop Street Harassment for her library and she just informed me that the library agreed to order it. So, folks in Arlington, VA, you can check it out in 4-6 weeks 🙂

I hope that you, too, will request the book for your library. It’s a fast, easy, and free way to help make this information accessible for everyone in your community.

(And if you happen to have an extra copy or are done with yours, you can always donate it to the library. When so many libraries, including mine, are facing budget cuts, that is one way to ensure your library can carry a copy.)