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Document the facts - share your experience of street harassment
 
  PREAMBLE | OUR BELIEFS | OUR INTENTIONS | OUR PROCESS
 

BELIEFS

1. That street harassment, rape and assault are connected issues; that all stem from attitudes of dehumanization of women that are part of a bigger social picture: the system of male supremacy and sexism under which we still live.

2. We are feminists and see this struggle as an aspect of the larger struggle for women to be equal and have full human rights in every area of life.

3. Street harassment is a form of terrorization of women in which men attempt to impose dominance and women are supposed to react with subordination. The reinforcement of male supremacy is its effect as well as its motivation. It is patriarchy flexing its muscles.

4. Street harassment is primarily about power and control; we do not bring it on ourselves by what we wear or do. It is enough to be female and out in public to be harassed.

5. That the streets are public space that men have for too long claimed as their "turf," so that when women venture onto them we are defined by men as being there for THEIR amusement and titillation. We challenge their assumption of ownership of public space; these are our streets too!

6. We reject "boys will be boys" and other rationalizations for men's behavior. We do not believe that street harassment represents men's inherent "nature," but is part of a socially constructed "masculinity," one that is part of a male culture that has been passed on through generations. It is a learned behavior that CAN be unlearned.

7. While all women are harassed, we are cognizant of the special forms that harassment of some women may take, for instance, women of color, very young women, perceived lesbians and women deemed "unattractive," to name a few. We wish to explore these differences.

8. We realize that some women do not consider to be harassment what we consider to be harassment. While we recognize every woman's right to define for herself what she considers "harassment," we are cognizant of the fact that all women are continually being intimidated into "playing along to get along," as well as being constantly pressured to prove--even to ourselves--that we are "attractive." We do not forget that this is a game in which men set the terms and women are punished if we do not comply.

9. We recognize that there are many forms of harassment going on in public spaces. These may be based on race, class, immigrant status, sexual orientation, gender expression, homelessness, police targeting--or have other "causes." There are relationships and overlaps between these harassments/abuses and what women experience because we are women--we support all struggles on these issues. We have, however, in THIS group, chosen to focus on the harassment of women by men:

a) because there is no other group solely devoted to this important work and
b) because we believe we must fight as FEMINISTS against street harassment--and in the context of a larger struggle against male supremacy and sexism.

Our Intentions >>