We all know street harassment is something women deal with on a daily basis and unfortunately it’ll probably never end. Organizations are now beginning to shed light on the issue of street harassment. Earlier this year, posters went up on the streets of New York City shedding light on the issue, and now Philadelphia’s SEPTA trains will display ads that encourage a dialogue a about street harassment. The ads are the brainchild of HollaBackPhilly, and will be displayed for the month of April. According to HollabackPhilly’s website their mission is simple:
Hollaback is a movement to end street harassment powered by a network of local activists around the world. We work together to better understand street harassment, to ignite public conversations, and to develop innovative strategies to ensure equal access to public spaces.
Anna Kegler was involved in designing the media effort for the group HollabackPHILLY. Many people have never heard the term “street harassment,” she said, so the posters equate that concept to something more familiar.
“Workplace sexual harassment used to be very normalized and it was not considered a big deal at all,” Kegler said. “Now it’s something that’s completely unacceptable. So we’re hoping to make some of those connections and then, hopefully, get people to start thinking about street harassment along the same lines.”
When HollabackPHILLY’s director, Rochelle Keyhan, speaks with community groups, she often asks how many have been street harassed.
“Most people don’t raise their hands,” Keyhan said. “Then we start asking how many of you have been followed home? How many of you have been uncomfortable on the subway because of attention you were getting from someone? How many of you have been grabbed, groped? How many of you have had vulgar things shouted at you. Then all of the hands start shooting up.”