I can guarantee it’s happened to every woman reading this. You’re walking down the street, minding your own business and in a perfectly fine mood. When some man (or men) yell at you from the safety of their car/van/scaffold/whatever… they yell something about how hot you look, how much they want to screw you, or simply advise that you ‘cheer up, love’. And that’s it… your mood is ruined for the rest of the day. Your personal space has been invaded, your appearance has been critiqued, your personality reduced to your appearance.
Holly Kearl founded Stop Street Harassment in the US in 2008. What began as a blog has grown and grown, and in 2012 it became an incorporated company. The aims of Stop Street Harassment are to raise awareness of how damaging and intimidating street harassment is for its subjects, and for people to share their stories of how they’ve been affected by – or responded to – their harassers.
As part of this, Holly has recently produced this new book, 50 Stories About Stopping Street Harassers (which you can buy for $10 plus postage from this link, with proceeds goingtowards her organisation). As well as the 50 stories you’d expect given the title (of which, I’m proud to say, my own story is the first), Holly has included short essays about what street harassment is, suggestions for how to respond when it happens to you, and links for more information and advice.
It’s a great book, and really empowering for the 80% of women around the world who will experience street harassment as part of their day-to-day lives.