Lynne Miles // 3 July 2006
The Guardian today talks about the increasing fightback by women against harassment in public places.
We\x92ve all been there (well I have \x96 just outside Earlsfield station, about 5pm on a Sunday evening. Your classic old-man-in-mac. He was a walking clich\xE9). Official Department for Transport figures suggest that 8% of all British women have been sexually harassed on public transport (that figure includes groping, flashing and lewd comments) but, as Kira Cochrane so rightly puts it \x96 it seems in London as though it would be quicker to take a straw poll of your friends with the question \x91who hasn\x92t been flashed\x92?
The article talks about the Hollaback NYC initiative \x96 where people experiencing harassment in public are encouraged to take camera phone pictures of the perpetrators and post them, along with their story, online. The site is gaining a certain notoriety worldwide following a lot of press coverage, and the British site is in the process of being launched \x96 already with three disgusting stories in place.
What the article didn\x92t mention is an amazing related project, begun in Britain a few years ago, where women can share stories of street harassment online \x96 the archive of assorted smut on British streets is quite remarkable, and it helps sometimes to hear how other people deal with that low-level rubbish that seems to be considered \x91just the way it is\x92. I\x92d urge you all to go and have a look at the site, and contribute your stories. Street harassment is not \x91just the way it is\x92 \x96we can show people it\x92s not acceptable, and sites like these are a great start.