Stop Street Harassment
Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women
by Holly Kearl
August 2010, 236pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38496-7
$95, £74, 83€, A131
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38497-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The evidence is unmistakable, the numbers alarming. Over 80 percent of women experience gender-based harassment from unknown men in public, including whistling, sexually-explicit comments, groping, stalking, and assault. One study of 800 women reported that 75 percent had been followed and 57 percent sexually touched. How can it be that so few people recognize this as a problem?

Using groundbreaking studies, news stories, and interviews, this book underscores that there will never be gender equity until men stop harassing women in public spaces—and it details strategies for achieving this goal.

Street harassment is generally dismissed as harmless, but in reality, it causes women to feel unsafe in public, at least sometimes. To achieve true gender equality, it must come to an end. Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women draws on academic studies, informal surveys, news articles, and interviews with activists to explore the practice’s definition and prevalence, the societal contexts in which it occurs, and the role of factors such as race and sexual orientation. Perhaps more crucially, the book makes clear how women experience street harassment—how they feel about and respond to it—and the ways it negatively impacts lives.

But understanding is only a beginning. In the second half of the book, readers will find concrete strategies for dealing with street harassers and ways to become involved in working to end this all-too-common violation. Educators, counselors, parents, and other concerned individuals will discover resources for teaching about harassment and modeling behavior that will help prevent harassment incidents.


  • Compelling anecdotes pulled from hundreds of women's stories that detail what harassment they have experienced, how it makes them feel, and how it impacts their lives
  • Groundbreaking information from surveys conducted around the world detailing the number of women who experience street harassment, how often, and in what forms
  • Suggestions for numerous, concrete actions women and men can take to stop street harassment and information on over 20 anti-street-harassment initiatives now underway
  • Interviews with community activists to inspire readers to take action
  • A companion website,, features the results of two surveys conducted by the author and a presentation of myths vs. facts about street harassment
Holly Kearl is a program manager at the American Association of University Women, a women's equity nonprofit organization in Washington, DC. She received her master's degree in public policy and women's studies from The George Washington University and two bachelor's degrees in history and women's and gender studies from Santa Clara University. She is the creator of the website, which educates the public about this problem, helps women deal with it, and gives victims a place to tell their stories.


"Whose streets? Out streets! Holly Kearl's new book is the manifesto for a new movement afoot -- one dedicated to making sure that women get to walk around in the world without the constant inconvenience and injustice of street harassment. She not only documents the prevalence of gender-based street harassment -- an unprecendented effort -- but points the way towards liberation."—Courtney E. Martin, Author of Do it Anyway: The New Generation of Activists and Editor at

"When I started reading, I remembered a few times I had been harassed on the street, but then other incidents came flooding back. I had almost forgotten the acute discomfort ranging from annoyance to fear and I still try to avoid situations where this might happen. . . . If you're a woman, of if you have women in your life as well as young girls, this is a 'must read' book."—Bernice Resnick Sandler, Senior Scholar, Women's Research and Education Institute, Washington, D.C.
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