Know Your Rights: Street Harassment and The Law

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Stop Street Harassment released a Know Your Rights Toolkit today.

WASHINGTON, DC – To mark the U.N.’s Human Rights Day, Stop Street Harassment (SSH) released  a comprehensive Know Your Rights Toolkit detailing the laws in each state that regulate unwanted sexual behaviors in public spaces, including, but not limited to, obscene comments, flashing, up-skirt photos, following, and groping. It also covers how to report these crimes to the police.

Sexual harassment in public spaces, or streetharassment, is a human rights concern, yet this harassment is not specifically criminalized, despite negatively impacting at least 80 percent of women and countless men, especially in the LGBQT community.

Many common street harassment behaviors, however, are already illegal under state laws such as Disorderly Conduct, Invasion of Privacy, and Sexual Misconduct.

The Know Your Rights Toolkit details what those laws are in each state and how people can report streetharassment using them.

“While laws will never be THE answer—and in some cases they can be problematic when they are applied disproportionally to low-income people and persons of color—they can influence societal attitudes about what is and is not okay. Additionally, laws can create consequences to deter harassment and, as many harassers are repeat offenders, reporting incidents may prevent future crimes,” said Holly Kearl, SSH founder and Executive Director.

The toolkit is available as a web feature on the SSH website, allowing people to easily find the laws and reporting information for their state. It is also available for download as a PDF document.

A State-by-State Guide:

The online version can be found here on the SSH website.

Ubuntu,

From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW

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I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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3 Responses

  1. David Niven says:

    Hi fascinating stuff. Good to read and very timely. Here in UK recent legislation on Stalking came into force and it’s one of our new courses.
    will look out for your work in future

    • Thanks David! I’m currently on the Board of Directors of Stop Street Harassment. If you have any info on the UK legislation that you’d like to share, please feel free to do so here, as this is a global human rights issue.

      I also had a chance to check out your website, and I am looking forward to following your work in the future as well.

  2. Dave Niven says:

    The information I have of UK legislation is from the trainers who deliver the stalking course for my company:

    Stalking became a criminal office in England & Wales on 25th November 2012 and this caused amendments to be made under the Protection From Harassment Act (PHA) 1997 – section 2 is proving a course of conduct amounting to harassment and now the new section 2a is proving a course of conduct amounting to stalking. Section 4 of PHA is fear of violence and now section 4a is stalking which causes serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on the victim’s usual day-to-day activities.

    I hope this proves useful to you? Do have a look at the blog I posted about it

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