Once a largely dismissed problem, street harassment is now headline news and being addressed by many international agencies and governments worldwide. This book details how a growing number of individuals, small groups, international organizations, and government agencies worldwide are working to create safe public spaces.
Everyone should be able to navigate through public spaces without facing harassment or the threat of sexual assault, yet that is a right that millions of people worldwide are routinely denied. In the United States alone, 65 percent of women and 25 percent of men experience street harassment. This book taps personal stories, research data, news stories, and information about global campaigns and grassroots action in dozens of countries to trace the growing social movement to recognize, address, and prevent street harassment. The author suggests what steps need to be taken next to help stop street harassment globally and invites readers to take action and be part of the solution.
The book addresses specific and prominent incidents of street harassment such as the mass sexual assaults of women at Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt; the gang rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in Delhi, India, in 2012; and the viral hidden-camera video produced by Hollaback!, an advocacy group dedicated to ending street harassment, that documents the catcalling and stalking that happens to a woman as she walks through New York City.
It documents the explosion of studies, personal story sharing, grassroots campaigns, and media attention on street harassment since 2010 as well as Global Safe Cities efforts by international organizations like UN Women and ActionAid in countries on all six continents during that time period. Attention is also paid to the ongoing lack of enforcement of laws on street harassment by police and judges. The book concludes by looking forward at remedies for the problem: education among youth about street harassment and addressing issues of consent and respect.
- Makes a clear case for why street harassment is a human rights violation and provides evidence that illustrates its scope and status as a serious problem internationally
- Provides a collection of studies and personal stories from more than a dozen countries on six continents
- Weighs the pros and cons of laws intended to curtail street harassment
- Documents how street harassment is a global problem and how individuals worldwide are taking action to create safer communities for all
- Highlights how news stories in combination with individual outrage, community action, and online tools can lead to substantive social change
Holly Kearl is the founder of the nonprofit organization Stop Street Harassment; a consultant for entities such as the Aspen Institute, the OpEd Project, the U.S. State Department, and the UN Women's Safe Cities Global Initiative; and an adjunct professor at George Mason University. Her published work includes Praeger's Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women and the national studies Unsafe and Harassed in Public Spaces: A National Street Harassment Report and Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment in Schools. Kearl has given more than 200 media interviews; written more than 60 articles for outlets that include CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian; and presented more than 130 talks on these topics. She received a master's degree in public policy and women's studies from George Washington University and bachelor's degrees in history and women's studies from Santa Clara University.
Reviews"Stop Global Street Harassment is a sensitive and harrowing examination of the frequency, severity, and implications of a global pandemic disproportionately impacting girls and women: street harassment. Holly Kearl, activist and founding leader in the Stop Street Harassment movement, interweaves a powerful narrative combining global perspectives from social science research, personal narrative, and journalistic/social media accounts, resulting in an intersectional pièce de résistance. Kearl’s work is the most comprehensive work on the issue of global street harassment to date. A compelling read and a brave indictment of hegemonic privilege, Stop Global Street Harassment represents a living account possessing the power to ignite a global audience by underscoring the experiences of untold activists, researchers, students, and parents throughout the world. This crucial work culminates with practical solutions and policy prescriptions that will not only inform NGOs and governmental entities, but also serve to inspire those individuals who live with street harassment on a daily basis, most of whom possess non-dominant identity statuses. This work is a call to action. Readers will be inspired not only to listen for the untold voices that have yet to be heard, telling their tales of the daily harassment they face in simply navigating public spaces, but also to work for change within their own communities. Stop Global Street Harassment is a must read."—Dr. Jennifer L. Martin, Assistant Professor of Education, University of Mount Union
"What an excellent resource Kearl’s book is for activists and scholars! Stop Global Street Harassment: Growing Activism Around the World should be read by feminist leaders far and wide; it would be a great reading selection for those teaching courses that address global issues, social problems, social movements, and gender issues. Holly Kearl has written an easy-to-read, engaging book about street harassment and the movement she helped develop to document and end it."—Laura S. Logan, Assistant Professor, Hastings College
"In Holly Kearl’s new book, she powerfully and compellingly analyses the scale and breadth of the problem of street harassment and presents the reader with an uplifting snapshot of the activism being undertaken to tackle it. This is a hugely important global exploration of a seismic shift in our attitudes and responses to a universal experience. For some readers, the scale of the problem as Kearl describes it will be shocking. For others, it will be horribly familiar. But the campaigns and strategies she outlines for taking back the streets will fill every reader with hope, energy, and a powerful urge to be part of the solution. This is an important book and a compelling call to arms." —Laura Bates, Founder of The Everyday Sexism Project
"This book represents a major breakthrough in exposing the pernicious, prevalent, but long-ignored form of oppression that is a barrier to freedom and full equality for women around the world. It offers comprehensive analysis and research, is clearly written, and presents useful tools and information for those seeking change. It addresses misogyny and the related issues of race, culture, and gender identity with great insight and originality.
In the mid-1970s when my colleagues and I were defining and organizing around the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, the problem of street harassment seemed too complicated and daunting for us to tackle. I am grateful to Holly and a new generation of women activists and researchers who have taken the fight to a new level to raise public awareness and change public policy and ingrained prejudice and behavior."—Susan Meyer, Former executive director of Working Women United Institute
"As Holly Kearl documents, street harassment is not a new problem. What is new is the strength of community activism and government support to end street harassment. This book updates us on the current fight against street harassment and the progress that has been made in the last five years. Understanding the role street harassment plays in perpetuating gender inequality and patriarchal power is crucial to improving women’s lives across the globe."—Kimberly Fairchild, Associate Professor of Psychology, Manhattan College, Riverdale, NY