| OUR BELIEFS | OUR
INTENTIONS | OUR PROCESS
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.
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.
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 >>