Guess, what? There’s a fantastic new (and very affordable) book you can check out that addresses street harassment, Hey, Shorty!: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and on the Streets.
I’m excited because in my book about street harassment, I note the need for more books on the topic and here is one! And I’m also excited because the book comes from one of the groups I featured in my book, the New York City-based organization Girls for Gender Equity (GGE).
Hey, Shorty! is an essential, much-needed resource for students, teachers, parents, and any community member who wants teens to be safe at school and on the streets. Because the book is so important, I’m giving away a free copy of Hey, Shorty! in a random drawing. To have your name included in the drawing, put your name in the comments of this post or e-mail stopstreetharassment AT yahoo DOT com by April 19.
[4/15 UPDATE: I’m giving away TWO free copies of the book and also a free copy of the Hey…Shorty documentary. The additions are courtesy of one of my AAUW coworkers who got them for me without knowing I already own both :)]
If you live in New York City, you can go to Bluestockings Bookstore tonight, April 13, at 7 p.m. for the book launch event. Authors Joanne N. Smith, Mandy Van Deven, and Meghan Huppuch will talk about the book and the work of GGE (Smith is the founder of GGE and Deven and Huppuch work or worked for GGE). Several GGE youth organizers including Nefertiti Martin, Ariel Natasha, Veronica Tirado, Cyndi Yahya will read passages from the book. Books will be available for sale and signing.
Hey, Shorty! provides readers with two types of resource. First, in the main portion of the book, Smith, Van Deven, and Huppuch take readers through the 10 year history and work of GGE and their efforts to create an organization that empowers teenage girls to address issues that impact them and also to have schools address the widespread issue of sexual harassment (which, by the way, they are required to do by law under Title IX of the Educational Amendment of 1972).
The authors share personal experiences, thoughts, struggles and successes with designing programming, working with teenagers, learning from teenagers, and creating outcomes. The chapters are interesting and provide a model for action through the example of their work, in particular the model of prioritizing youth leadership on issues that relate to youth because, as Smith notes, they are the experts on these issues and they are the main stakeholders.
Two of the teen-led projects shared in the book that I have first-hand experience with are the Sisters in Strength Street Harassment Summit and Hey…Shorty documentary (available for purchase for $20 from the GGE website). I attended the Summit in 2007 as part of my master’s thesis research and I own the documentary. Both the summit and documentary were phenomenal and I was very impressed by the vision, articulation and hard work of teenage girls around the issues of street harassment.
Second, in the appendix, there are guides for students, school staff, and parents about how to prevent and also deal with sexual harassment. There is information about how to respond to harassers as the person being harassed or as a bystander and how to report harassers. Additional materials readers can use are a sexual harassment quiz and survey questions GGE used in their survey about sexual harassment in schools. These guides are easy to read and understand and are very important resources for anyone who cares about this issue. Soon you can add workshop curriculum to your list of resources, which GGE is developing with the help of 67 middle and high school students.
Lately I’ve been giving a lot of talks about street harassment, particularly to members of the nonprofit organization I work for, the American Association of University Women. Many of the people in attendance are current or retired teachers and are eager for information and resources they can use and they are very happy to hear about Hey, Shorty!
I hope you will read Hey, Shorty! and if you are a teenager, a parent of one, or work with teens, I hope you will consider using some of the materials in your own lives and work. GGE will celebrate 10 years this September. I look forward to seeing what they will achieve in the next 10 years!