Mark your calendars for International Anti-Street Harassment Day

February 20, 2011

I hereby declare March 20, 2011, the First Day of Spring, to be International Anti-Street Harassment Day.  I invite YOU to participate in a national day of action to challenge street harassment and demand its end. (Facebook RSVP Page)


Street harassment occurs year-round, but, without fail, each spring the warmer weather and longer daylight hours bring an increase in street harassment. With spring, we see more men congregating in public places, sitting on porches or door stoops, lingering at bus stops or street corners, and driving with their windows down. Too many of these men think it’s okay to whistle, hoot, hollar, follow, and grab the girls and women they see. During spring, Mardi Gras, Spring Break, festivals and parades are all used as excuses for harassing women.

This is unacceptable.

I’m all for friendly hellos and mutual, gender-neutral public interactions (that can lead to mutual flirting and hoookups), but spring street harassment is out of control. It is demeaning. It is annoying. It’s sometimes threatening and scary. Evaluating women, making sexually explicit remarks or demands, groping, stalking, public masturbation, persistently asking for a date after being told no, leering, and whistling HAVE GOT TO GO.

Too often our stories and experiences with street harassment are silenced, dismissed as trivial annoyances, or portrayed as a compliment. Too few government agencies or elected officials acknowledge this problem or do anything about it.

On March 20,you can do something to challenge street harassment and its social acceptability and to let everyone know that street harassment is not okay. Take part in anti-street harassment activities on the same day as women and men all over the country. Let’s remind everyone that spring is no excuse for harassing women.

Ten Ideas for What YOU Can Do!

You have one month to get ready for International Anti-Street Harassment Day. Whether you decide to do something small or big, know that every action counts and every person can help make a difference.

  1. Share your stories to break the silence. Please share a street harassment story with a family member or friend. Share it online. Tweet it using #streetharassment. If you do nothing else, share your story.
  2. Respond to Harassers: Use assertive responses, report them, ask them to fill out the Catcaller Form, or hand them an anti-street harassment handout.
  3. Hand out or post anti-street harassment information. Print and post fliers, handouts and signs around your neighborhood, office, campus, school, or community center to raise people’s awareness about what street harassment is and why it is unacceptable. (Examples of fliers, posters or signs (click on link for street signs) and another street harassment poster).
  4. Use your talents to raise awareness about street harassment. Write/perform songs (see The Astronomical Kid‘s and Emily Swash‘s songs); do stand-up comedy (see Lucé Tomlin-Brenner’s stand-up comedy routine); make a cartoon (see Liza Donnelly‘s, Barry Deutsch‘s, and Jerrod Koon‘s); write a poem (see Fiona Lowenstein‘s and Bif Naked‘s poems); put on a show (see Leah King’s one woman show “Can I get a smile?“); or make a fun online awareness-raising item (see Atozinco’s slideshow, à la garconnière’s street harassment invoice, and Scary Godmother’s Bingo sheet)
  5. Hold an event or rally about street harassment in your community or on your campus. Ask people to share street harassment stories and brainstorm how to address it in your community. Show an anti-street harassment documentary. Make it an open mic or art event where people can share their poems or art work on the topic. Hold a self defense demonstration.
  6. Conduct a community safety audit in your neighborhood. Build a small team and find out what could make your area safer and more inclusive for women. Take your ideas to your local elected officials.
  7. Learn more about street harassment. Watch an anti-street harassment documentary or read an anti-street harassment article or book. Request the Stop Street Harassment book for your library, so anyone in your community can read it for free.
  8. Write an op-ed: Write and submit an article or op-ed about street harassment and your experiences with it to a magazine or newspaper. An op-ed that journalist Elizabeth Mendez Berry wrote in the fall of 2010 led to the first ever city council hearing on street harassment in New York City!
  9. Survey and map harassment: Survey your friends and family, classmates and coworkers about their experiences with street harassment (you can do so for free with SurveyMonkey). Map where you and they face harassment (google earth offers a free tool to do so with a tutorial) to track any patterns about where it occurs. Take your information and ask the police, elected officials, or local businesses to do something about the harassment in those areas (show them your results when you talk to them).
  10. Start campaigning: Organize or participate in an anti-street harassment campaign, like the UK Anti-Street Harassment Campaign and the Don’t be Silent Speak Out Campaign. Ask your elected officials to address this issue. Ask for an anti-street harassment Public Service Announcement campaign. Ask that schools address street harassment in their curriculum.

Add your name or organization’s name to the comments if you’re participating.

Also, please share what you did for the First Annual International Anti-Street Harassment Day and it will be highlighted on the blog and the Stop Street Harassment website. Share photos!

Please contact me if you have questions or need help with any of these ideas. Please add your own ideas to the comments section and we will work to make next year’s even better!


NYC Street Harassment Hearing is a Success!

October 28, 2010

Today I had the honor of testifying with 17 other women and men at a city council hearing about the problem of street harassment in New York City. Those who testified included representatives of groups like HollaBack, Girls for Gender Equity, RightRides, NYC-NOW, and Center for Anti-Violence Education, journalist Elizabeth Mendez Berry, the amazing 14-year-old performer/singer The Astronomical Kid, and many community members (including my mother). Every single testimony was powerful, heartfelt, and important.

Each person had about 5 minutes to speak, and I was asked to talk about the global problem and offer policy suggestions. I’m working to collect the testimonies of everyone who spoke to post here so people who couldn’t attend can read them. The official testimonies won’t be available for weeks. To start, here is my testimony and here is the testimony of high school student Grace.

[Update: View or read 10 testimonies from the hearing on my Stop Street Harassment website page for the hearing]

I was able to record all or part of several testimonies and I uploaded them to the Stop Street Harassment YouTube Channel:

Watch testimonies from the hearing

This is historic because it is the first time a major U.S. city has held a hearing on this topic and NYC is one of the largest and most influential cities in the world!!

Julissa Ferreras chaired the meeting and she truly understood and heard us on this issue, as did the other council members. I am grateful to her for organizing the hearing. By the end, she said they would like to pursue the first city-wide study of street harassment and launch an awareness campaign. This is huge. This is social change.

Here’s the HollaBack recap.

Many members of the press were in attendance, including someone from the AP. AP journalist Sara Kugler Frazier wrote an article and already the following media outlets have picked up the story: Washington Post, MSNBC, Boston Globe, NY Post, Salon, Yahoo, Huffington Post, Canadian Press, AJC, USA News, and Kansas City Star. The NY Metro, AM New York, the NYC CBS News, TampaBay.comFox News, and Gothamist also wrote stories. I spoke with a blogger for Ms. so I know it will be covered there, too.

This is amazing coverage for this important issue. I hope every city takes notice and considers holding their own street harassment hearing and working on community solutions for making their city safer and more welcoming for women!

Fox News NYC City Council Street Harassment Hearing Clip


Winner of the book release drawing

August 26, 2010

Thank you everyone who entered the book drawing contest! Here’s the winner:

For everyone else, it’s available for purchase from Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, or Greenwood.com.

If you’re in DC or NYC, you can also get it at my free book release events in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 2 and in New York City on Sept. 10. Local activists from the area who are featured in my book will join me to talk about their work.

Please contact me if you would like me to speak at a venue near you.


Stop Street Harassment Book Released! Win a Copy

August 24, 2010

A year ago today, I was in the beginning stages of writing my book about street harassment. Today I am happy to announce that it’s in print and available for purchase from Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, or Greenwood.com. My publisher’s main audience is libraries, so in the coming weeks and months you may be able to find it at your local library, too.

View the table of contents, foreword, and introduction.

Whose stories?

Many people bravely shared their stories for this book, including over 900 people who took my informal survey in the fall of 2008, scores of people who shared their stories on this blog (pre-Dec. 2009), and more than 20 activists around the world who let me interview them about their work. Thank you. This book would not be possible without your help.

Free Book Giveaway Contest!

Who: YOU! Your friends, family, colleagues, classmates, neighbors.

What: Enter a random drawing to win a free, signed copy of the Stop Street Harassment book.

When: You have until 7 p.m. EDT on 8/26/10 to enter. I’ll post the winner’s name on my blog and email her/him around 8 p.m. EDT on 8/26. The winner will received a mailed copy next week. This contest is open to people anywhere in the world – the book covers street harassment globally.

How: Email stopstreetharassmentATyahooDOTcom with your name (which I will not share or sell) or enter by tweeting about the contest (include @hkearl, @stopstharassmnt or “street harassment” so I can find it).

Book Release Events!

Please join me for free book release events in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 2 and in New York City on Sept. 10. Local activists from the area who are featured in my book will join me to talk about their work.

You can also contact me if you would like me to speak at a venue near you.


Stop Street Harassment Book Giveaway!

July 28, 2010

It’s been one year since I received a book contract and a long seven months since I turned in my manuscript, but now it’s only one month until you can read my book Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe & Welcoming for Women!!

To celebrate, I’ll give away a signed copy of the book through a random drawing on Thursday night,  July 29.  I’ll announce the winner on the blog. This is open to individuals living anywhere in the world – street harassment is a global problem.

Want to enter the book giveaway?

  • Email your name* to stopstreetharassment AT yahoo Dot com by 7 p.m. EST on 7/29
  • Tweet about the drawing before 7 p.m. EST on 7/29 (e.g.: “RT by 7/29 to win a signed copy of @hkearl‘s groundbreaking book Stop Street Harassment http://tinyurl.com/3xum8sn”). As long as @hkearl is in your tweet, I will find it and include you in the drawing.

How can you read the book if you don’t win?

  • You can pre-order the book on Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com. It will be available Aug. 30.
  • My publisher mainly distributes to libraries, so look for it at a library near you.

Where has the book been mentioned?

Book Events:

I’d love to add to my book events schedule. Want me to come to your school, bookstore, library, or community event? Let me know!

* Note: I will not share your email address with anyone. However, unless you specify you do not want me to, I may include you in future emails about book-related news or street harassment events.