BlogStreet Harassment
April 7, 2013

Bed-Stuy Organizers Kick Off Anti-Street Harassment Week

dnainfo

By Paul DeBenedetto

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — On a recent morning, on her way to work inBedford-Stuyvesant, Marly Pierre-Louis was approached and followed by two separate cars.

The occupants didn’t explicitly threaten her, or get out of the car to attack her, she said. Instead, they offered unsolicited critiques of her appearance as she attempted to ignore them.

“Hey, you’re pretty. Why aren’t you talking to me? Why are you ignoring me?,” Pierre-Louis recounted.

“They think it’s all good and it’s fun,” Pierre-Louis said. “But you as a woman, who are smaller and more likely to be attacked, you think, what are these people going to do to me?”

Now Pierre-Louis and her coworkers at the Brooklyn Movement Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant are hoping to raise awareness as part of International Anti-Street Harassment Week, from April 7 through April 13.

Street harassment is loosely defined as “any action or comment between strangers in public places that is disrespectful, unwelcome, threatening and/or harassing and is motivated by gender,” according to stopstreetharassment.org.

On Sunday, the Brooklyn Movement Center is hosting an open dialogue for women to share their experiences with street harassment, at an undisclosed location in Bedford-Stuyvesant. (The organizers want to keep the location a secret to all except those who RSVP to the event’s Facebook page.)

“Are you tired of men in the streets blowing kisses at you or following you to get your phone number?” the event’s invitation reads. “Do you feel unsafe walking home at night? Do you wish there was a better way to interact with men in your neighborhood?”

On Monday, the group is holding a “chalk party” in Fulton Park, which the group said was a hub of harassment. Women who attend will write anti-street harassment messages in chalk on the ground.

The hope is that through sharing their stories and being vocal about harassment, they can come up with ways to make their own neighborhood safer and raise awareness about what they see as a widespread problem.

“It’s an issue in central Brooklyn, it’s an issue in New York,” Pierre-Louis said. “Street harassment is an issue all around the world. Wherever there are women, there’s street harassment.”

Solid research on street harassment is hard to come by, mostly because in many cases the actions are not against the law.

“It’s always been a problem, it’s just that no one’s addressed it before,” said Debjani Roy, deputy director at anti-street harassment group Hollaback!, which is holding a “chalk walk” of its own on Saturday, April 13 in Washington Square Park.

Complicating the issue is the fact that many men consider the harassment to be complimentary or “harmless,” Roy said. Organizations like Hollaback! are working to dispel that notion.

“You’re not asking for that sort of feedback,” Roy said. “Most people I know don’t take it as a compliment. It’s seen as a nuisance and potentially threatening.”

“And it’s something experienced by almost every woman that walks down the street,” Roy added.

But one 2010 study by the Centers for Disease Control tried to put a number on the problem, estimating that more than 33 percent of women in the country have experienced “some type of non-contact unwanted sexual experience in their lifetime,” according to Cornell University.

Pierre-Louis and her coworker Anthonine Pierre said that criminalizing street harassment is not necessarily the answer. Instead, they’re hoping they can change the culture around street harassment.

“There are a lot of issues wrapped up in street harassment— power, over-sexualization of women,” Pierre said. “We live in a culture that is male dominated, and I think a lot of men can feel that because they have more ‘power,’ they feel like it’s OK to overstep boundaries.”

Part of what the group hopes to do going forward is engage “male allies” to help spread awareness of the issue and combat the problem. There are also steps urban planners can take to address the issue, like making sure areas are well-lit and making sure there are as few blind spots as possible, Pierre-Louis said.

The upcoming meetings are the first steps toward making women feel safer in their own community, the organizers said.

“We want to feel part of our community, we want to talk to our neighbors,” Pierre-Louis said. “But we want to feel safe at the same time.”

This article was originally posted on DNA.info.

About this author

Brooklyn Movement Center

Brooklyn Movement Center

The Brooklyn Movement Center (the “MC”) is a membership-led, direct-action, community organizing body based in Central Brooklyn (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights and the surrounding area). We bring together residents to identify important issues in their lives, win concrete improvements in their community, and build power. The Brooklyn MC is staffed by local organizers, supported by volunteers, governed by a community-based board of directors, and guided by an advisory group made up of activists and organizers from across the city

0 comments

There are no comments for this post yet.

Be the first to comment. Click here.

Blog
 
Originally written for Gawker . With Brooklyn’s spring thaw in full effect,...
 
Originally written for  EBONY.com   Fifteen-year-old Veralyn would have chuckled at the...
 
Both police harassment and gendered & sexualized street harassment contribute to...
 
Wednesday’s New York Times featured an article announcing the results of...
 
There’s been no shortage of eloquent commentary and reflection on the...
 
The latest indictment of the Department of Education’s management of failing...
 
For the last year and a half I have been BMC’s...
 
As a longtime resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant, who directly experienced stop-and-frisk abuses...
 
After a passionate debate a few days before the official vote...
 
Listen to Manny W. talk about how a constant police presence...
 
As I approached the corner of Throop Avenue and Van Buren...
 
January inaugurations are typically a time to look forward. Although it’s...
 
On July 21st 2013 Kyam Livingston, a 37 year old African...
 
Listen to Ricky S. talk about the misplaced priorities of the...
 
People have the right to know what they’re eating – particularly...
 
Much of the discourse around gentrification centers on the...
 
BMC’s Anti-Street Harassment Working Group occupied Potomac Playground  (on Tompkins between Halsey & Macon) to listen...
 
I’ve been thinking more and more about my grandma lately as...
 
On July 28th, the Brooklyn Movement Center, in partnership with the...
 
Raise your hand if you’re jaded by elections. You should be....
 
Black and brown people deserve the right to LIFE, liberty and...
 
“Can I help you with those bags, ma?” said the man...
 
The moment I found out about the verdict, the room changed....
 
Why a spectrum? BMC’s Anti-Street Harassment Working Group is working on...
 
Few people consider voting subversive activity. In fact, we think of...
 
  The race to represent District 36 in the NYC Council...
 
“Crack is wack!” Not sure if that enlightening epiphany by the...
 
By Debjani Roy, Hollaback! When it comes to combating street harassment,...
 
It has come to this: We want you to take over...
 
Listen to Malcolm S. talk about the various constitutional violations inherent...
 
By Tanay Warerkar On a recent morning while riding the subway...
 
David Ushery sits down with Marly Pierre-Louis and Anthonine Pierre from...
 
By Kat Noel It was on a trip to the neighborhood...
 
“I said she looks nice today. What’s wrong with that? Why...
 
By Paul DeBenedetto BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — On a recent morning, on her way...
 
While jogging down the street a few years ago, I suddenly...
 
Marc K. believes the NYPD are directly targeting communities of color....
 
Listen to Maya S. talk about how she feels paranoid and...
 
It’s not every day that our Executive Director turns…um…30! Rather than...
 
Join Mom’s Rising on Saturday, March 2 in NYC for an inspirational gathering...
 
Listen to Michael talk about the consequences of taking a plea...
 
Write a 100 page annual report that no one will read?...
 
What does being a citizen mean to you? To be able...
 
Listen to Miles K. talk about how angry it made him...
 
In this episode of “On The Block”, BMC sits with Chelsea...
 
Listen to Milton P. talk about being beaten ruthlessly by the...
 
Think you’re a Taboo champ? PROVE IT! Come with a team...
 
By: Kirsten John Foy Can you imagine needing a service with...
 
Last year thousands of MomsRising.org members told Governor Coumo that NY’s...
 
Natasha was on her way to the library when she was...
 
After a year of research and conversations with hundreds of local...
 
Last month on November 17, I gathered with about 40 other...
 
By YK Hong Dedicated to all of those who walk down...
 
By John Raskin Brooklynites are working together to win a better...
 
We have a short window of time to have a real...
 
Oliver S. talks about racial profiling in this sound bite about...
 
At  Save Our Streets  and  Crown Heights Community Mediation Center  our hearts go out to the town of Newtown,...
 
Listen to Oscar C. talk about his encounters with the NYPD...
 
Listen to Paulene J. talk about the time her grandson was...
 
By: Leon Johnson As a child the primary location of refuge,...
 
By: Byron Hurt The food we eat is as critically important...
 
Listen to Ricky S. talk about the misplaced priorities of the...
 
It was a moment many had expected for years, ever since...
 
Listen to Roland L. talk about how gay and queer people...
 
Listen to Roy F. talk about how the police can get...
 
In March, 2012, School District 16 in Bedford-Stuyvesant was identified in...
 
Here in Central Brooklyn, we’re pretty lucky. Sort of. Sure we...
 
Whatever your cultural or ethnic background, conversations inevitably turn to food...
 
In this podcast, hear Samuel break down the real issue of...
 
Although New York City public schools progress reports for academic year...
 
Rally Saturday, November 17 1pm Franklin Ave. & Park Pl., Brooklyn...
 
By Rachel M. Kleinman & Damon T. Hewitt Each year, nearly...
 
In light of all the inspiring work communities across the city...
 
Think Stop & Frisk is only a problem for men? Think...
 
The Brooklyn Movement Center has teamed up with the Brooklyn Community...
 
“Just because they have a badge or a uniform they think...
 
[UPDATE]  Brooklyn Community Foundation  is in the process of coordinating a recovery fund. Visit...
 
The  Center for Constituational Rights  has created a podcast of New Yorkers telling their stories...
 
This Wednesday, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), fellow advocates, and...
 
Last week, MomsRising.org along with over a hundred New Yorkers rolled...
 
Wednesday, October 3rd at 6 p.m., Executive Director, Mark Winston Griffith...
 
Today, Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), partner orgnaizations, including BMC,...
 
I’m a committed New York sports fan. More importantly, I’m a...
 
On this one year anniversary of the birth of Occupy Wall...
 
For years, the Heatwave barbeque in Prospect Park was a huge...
 
The security guards at New York City Hall were overwhelmed, not...
 
In Gwen Guthrie’s 1986 hit “Ain’t Nothing Going On But The Rent” she...
 
<a href=”http://brooklynmovementcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/dnainfo.jpg”><img class=”size-medium wp-image-409″ src=”http://brooklynmovementcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/dnainfo-300×224.jpg” alt=”Bk stoop” width=”300″ height=”224″ /></a> BK...
 
<strong>By Lindsay Kalter</strong> <a href=”http://brooklynmovementcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/photoadayintersections.jpg”><img class=”size-medium wp-image-417″ alt=”photo a day garden”...
 
The Brooklyn Movement Center believes everyday people are the true witnesses...
 
On the Block with BMC is a monthly video series profiling...
 
We have an office! We have an office! For almost 4...
 
The Brooklyn Movement Center believes everyday people are the true witnesses...
 
2013 will be a defining moment for public education. Why, you...
 
Are you going to be a high school junior or senior...
 
A tiny burst of energy is enough to get any ball...
 
  Please come out and check out this important film being...
 
Daily Press , a coffee shop on Franklin & Hancock in Bedford-Stuyvesant, is...
 
By now, we’ve all heard about  Trayvon  Martin. The  unarmed, seventeen year old kid  killed while going...
 
By Maitefa Angaza – The Pratt Center for Community Development, Pratt’s Initiative...
 
Our very own Mark Winston Griffith was on NPR with Brian...
 
Several stores in the Bed-Stuy community have a new product on...
 
Over 150 Frederick Douglass Academy IV (FDA IV) and P.S. 26 parents, alumni,...
 
Executive Director Mark Winston Griffith joined Arva Rice, the president and CEO...
 
There are a lot of reasons for Central Brooklynites to not get involved...
 
You know Mary Ward.  She is in all of our families....
 
A lot of attention has been paid recently to the rise...
 
Shhhh!  Don’t tell anyone!  There was an election just a few...
 
“Get on the bus!” That was my clarion call for the past...
 
In partnership with 500 Men Making a Difference, and the administration...
 
New details are emerging on the Department of Education’s decision that...
 
Is it a stay of execution or a permanent reprieve? After...
 
With Cathie Black’s departure, the public’s focus will remain on the...
 
After only a few short months on the job, Cathie Black...
 
Elliot Vazquez, a junior at Samuel Gompers High School in the...
 
In March, the New York Police Department released its stop-and-frisk numbers...
 
They’re super schools sent to save America’s neediest children.  Or they’re...
 
Congressman Anthony Weiner recently  released a report   that found that since 2006, the...
 
Robert G. Thompson is a multimedia journalist, writer, and filmmaker, keeping...
 
The state and city budgets contain nothing but bad news for...
 
Two years ago, Boys and Girls High School got a D...
 
Today on our website, the MC’s journalism intern Patrick Wall sounds...
 
Robert G. Thompson is a multimedia journalist, writer, and filmmaker, keeping a regular...
 
“I love the concept of change. Everybody’s in favor of change....
 
Robert G. Thompson is a multimedia journalist, writer, and filmmaker, keeping a regular...
 
The District 16 Project Bed-Stuy Patch/C.Zawadi Morris November 6, 2012  ...
 
Last week Bronx Borough President Ruben, NYC Comptroller John Liu, several...
 
Among the many items in this week’s news, there was one...
 
When times are hard, you discover who your real friends are....
 
The recent news that Mayor Bloomberg offered Jeffrey Canada, the founder...
 
It’s no secret that Central Brooklyn is a poster child for...
 
Check out this  article in The Root , written by the Executive Director of the...
Originally written for Gawker . With Brooklyn’s spring thaw in full effect,...