Harassment in public spaces is all too common, as 90% of British women report that their first experience of harassment occurred before they were 171, however victims very rarely speak out about it. So check out these 5 reasons why we should start telling our stories!
1) To feel catharsis: Being heard feels good, and it’s important for us to express ourselves – especially after difficult experiences. We rarely get the chance to shout back when we face harassers, so by sharing our stories and recording our experiences we can channel the frustration and distress we are left with, and receive support from others.
2) To be part of a community:
Story contributor Emily explains: “sharing my experience with Hollaback! made me feel less alone and gave me a place to proactively channel the outrage and embarrassment I felt at being singled out and harassed in a public place. Reading other people’s stories made me realise how pervasive street harassment is around Oxford.”
3) To change perceptions:
Unfortunately, many people still believe street harassment is something we just have to live with, or worse, don’t understand the impact it can have on victims! Whether we are just starting a conversation with a colleague, or sharing our experiences with all our friends on social media, letting people know the awful reality of harassment is a powerful tool in changing the way people think about harassment and can make a big difference in the fight for equal access to public space.
4) To highlight the reality of harassment:
Story contributor Rachel told us: “It was useful to see my experience up there with other people’s, and although it paints a nasty picture, I think it’s helpful for people to show what’s happening, how it upsets/scares them and actually gives people some kind of action they can take (as often there isn’t any when things happen so quickly) and publicises what’s happening.”
5) To end street harassment:
To end street harassment we have to expose it! By bringing together multiple instance of harassment in specific public places or on public transport we can lobby our local authorities to make public spaces safer. By sharing our experiences we can start a conversation about the prevalence of the problem, we can recruit more allies, become better bystanders, and challenge the perpetrators.
Become part of the movement! Share your story at: https://oxford.ihollaback.org/share-your-story/
Any reasons we’ve missed? Let us know! Email: [email protected]