Street harassment snapshot: May 7, 2011

May 8, 2011

Read stories, news articles, blog posts, and tweets about street harassment from the past week and find relevant announcements and upcoming street harassment events.

Street Harassment Stories:

I accept street harassment submissions from anywhere in the world. Share your story!

You can read new street harassment stories on the Web from the past week at:

Street Harassment in the News, on the Blogs:



  • Congratulations to Hollaback for successfully getting a journalist fired who threatened to rape one of the Hollaback site leaders in an article he wrote
  • The Stop Street Harassment website + blog will relaunch this week with a new design and new logo! (slight delay from last week)


10 Tweets from the Week:

Street harassment resistance in Afghanistan

May 5, 2011

Via ProQuest K-12

In chapter 4 of my book, I look at how street harassment can vary by country and region depending on factors like, laws, culture, and peace vs wartime.

I briefly mention Afghanistan and how street harassment is exacerbated by the fact that across most of the country, women are not supposed to be in public unaccompanied by men and or unveiled. I also cite a few instances of men throwing acid at girls going to school; a horrific and unique form of street harassment that occurs in a few countries.

There is a lot more going on in Afghanistan when it comes to street harassment, though, and an article at Global Room for Women elaborates on the topic.

I’m on a quest to find information about how women resist and respond to street harassment, so I was particularly interested in this excerpt from the article:

“While studying this social issue, one has to gather information on how women struggle against street-harassment because women are not merely victims. Despite the fact that no formal, strategized and orderly action is taken by the government, namely the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the media or women’s organizations to recognize the phenomena as a social issue that needs to be addressed seriously, individual women have developed their own methods to fight street-harassment.

To deny the satisfaction of accomplishment to the violators, many women have a silent attitude towards the harassment they face. The silent treatment is a common way chosen by women to protect themselves and discourage the person who verbally abuses them.

Another way of dealing with this problem has been initiation of the harassment by the women when they say something condescending to men just to prevent their harassment and to prove that they are not afraid of their presence. Some women have word fights, or mini-fist fights that usually end at the interference of an outsider.

The different methods that women find to deal with the issue must be addressed and the advantages and disadvantages of each must be weighed to reach a conclusion on which is most successful in ensuring the safety and continuous participation of women in their societies.”

[If you want to read an inspiring book about Afghan women’s resistance generally, I recommend Veiled Courage by Cheryl Benard]

The opening words echo true for most of us — our governments, media, and NGOs don’t do enough (and sometimes don’t do anything) to make public places safe and welcoming for us, so we are left to our own devices for figuring out how to be safe and empowered.

Many women have discovered assertive responses that work, and a growing number of people are taking collective grassroots action to end street harassment.

There are plenty of tactics we can test to figure out what makes us feel empowered, safe, and full of resistance!

My primary resistance tactic is writing about street harassment.

What is yours?

Lara Logan on “60 Minutes”

May 3, 2011

As I wrote last Friday, CBS reporter Lara Logan went on “60 Minutes” this past Sunday to tell what happened to her on February 11, 2011, in Cairo. I’ve written about the mass sexual assault she expeirenced at the hands of hundreds of men a few times.

I was traveling on Sunday and only this morning have I had a chance to watch it (thanks, DVR) while I ran on the treadmill. I was running in tears for a few minutes and noted when I passed the 25 minute mark during my run – the length of them she experienced the assualt.

It’s an emotional experience and not easy to hear her story, but it’s so important to listen. She is very brave to open up like that, especially considering how after she did, all of her female colleagues thanked her for breaking the silence on something they all have faced but had kept quiet about for fear of people using that as proof that women shouldn’t be reporters.

If you missed the “60 Minutes” episode, it’s online and the segment on Logan is less than 20 minutes. May her story be a reminder to us all to keep telling our stories and speaking out. That is something our harassers and attackers cannot take away from us and it’s what ultimately will turn the tide and make the harassment of women unacceptable.

Street harassment snapshot: May 1, 2011

May 1, 2011

Read stories, news articles, blog posts, and tweets about street harassment from the past week and find relevant announcements and upcoming street harassment events.

Street Harassment Stories:

I accept street harassment submissions from anywhere in the world. Share your story!

You can read new street harassment stories on the Web from the past week at:

Street Harassment in the News, on the Blogs:



  • The Stop Street Harassment website + blog will relaunch this week with a new design and new logo!


10 Tweets from the Week:

  • zenithfish First run-in with street sexual harassment today; not impressed Philly, not impressed.
  • natalieraymond What a shit afternoon. Witness disgusting street harassment on 6th ave then had my skirt blown up be a random wind. Stupid.
  • HollaBackBmore Thanks @CCASBaltimore for hosting us last night. Any #streetharassment convo is a good one, esp. w/such great male involvement. Loved it!
  • Hkearl Many women ages 50-80 told me their #streetharassment stories 2 day after my talk. This is not a new issue, but our collective activism is
  • iHollaback Important Announcement: Juan Terranova, who threatened to rape our site leader, has been FIRED! A huge win for all of us!
  • BLANK_NOISE how did u respond to web + phone harassment? #actionheroes
  • rajiftw There is some epic street harassment going down today on U street! Epic, I tell you
  • danielnasaw Street harassment season has begun RT @lolaadesioye 2nd time in 1wk on same street that a man/men in a car have followed me + offered a ride
  • incurablehippie Thank you, bloke in the street, for pointing out that ‘Woah they are whoppers’. Now fuck off and die. #streetharassment
  • kariparks No, you can’t get a fucking smile. #Streetharassment

“When women are harassed … they’re denied an equal place in that society.”

April 29, 2011

“When women are harassed … they’re denied an equal place in that society. Public spaces don’t belong to them. Men control it. It reaffirms the oppressive role of men in the society.”

This powerful quote is by CBS News correspondent Lara Logan from her interview for The New York Times yesterday.

On Feb. 11, Logan, who was in Cairo covering the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s government, was sexually assaulted by a mob of at least 200 men across a 25 minute period.

Logan’s attack was not made public for several days and even then, we learned very little about what happened to her. Still, her story immediately focused international attention on the rampant problem of sexual harassment and assault in Egypt and to the dangers many female journalists face while on the job.

Logan will talk at length about what happened to her on Feb. 11, during a “60 Minutes” segment on Sunday. I plan to watch it. Already from reading the New York Times interview I have a better understanding of what she faced. Please note the rest of this post may be triggering.

Via The New York Times:

“There was a moment that everything went wrong,” she recalled.

As the cameraman, Richard Butler, was swapping out a battery, Egyptian colleagues who were accompanying the camera crew heard men nearby talking about wanting to take Ms. Logan’s pants off. She said: “Our local people with us said, ‘We’ve gotta get out of here.’ That was literally the moment the mob set on me.”

Mr. Butler, Ms. Logan’s producer, Max McClellan, and two locally hired drivers were “helpless,” Mr. Jeff Fager [the chairperson of CBS News] said, “because the mob was just so powerful.”…They estimated that they were separated from her for about 25 minutes.

“My clothes were torn to pieces,” Ms. Logan said.

She declined to go into more detail about the assault but said: “What really struck me was how merciless they were. They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence.”

After being rescued by a group of civilians and Egyptian soldiers, she was swiftly flown back to the United States. “She was quite traumatized, as you can imagine, for a period of time,” Mr. Fager said. Ms. Logan said she decided almost immediately that she would speak out about sexual violence both on behalf of other journalists and on behalf of “millions of voiceless women who are subjected to attacks like this and worse.”

What an utterly horrific experience and what bravery she has shown in the aftermath as she struggles to heal and recover.

Understandably, Logan said she will not give any more interviews on the topic after the “60 Minutes” segment because she doesn’t want the traumatic crime to define her.

Something Logan said near the end of the New York Times interview struck me. She noted she did not know about the levels of harassment and abuse that women in Egypt and other countries regularly experience. That surprises me given how much media attention street harassment in Egypt has received for at least three years since the release of the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights report stating 83% of Egyptian women and 98% of foreign women experience street harassment.

How was that stark information not part of the background research or briefing she received or conducted before going on this assignment? How can all reporters accurately report on issues without that kind of culture context and how else can female reporters prepare themselves for how they may be treated by the men they encounter?

I’m regularly reminded by something someone will say or something I read – such as this article – just how much education and awareness about street harassment is necessary.

Really, for so many people, we have to get basic with this issue and focus on awareness and education before we will be successful at prevention methods. If no one knows or believes there is a problem, no one will be willing to do anything about it and nothing will change.

So let’s keep speaking out and informing our circle of friends and family members and our communities that public places are not safe and welcoming for women, but that they should be.