Street Harassment Literature

Here is a curated round-up of street harassment academic literature. Click on the title to read or download the PDF!

Girls in the ‘Hood: How Safety Affects the Life Chances of Low-Income Girls
Susan J. Popkin, Tama Leventhal and Gretchen Weismann, 2010, Urban Affairs Review “Adolescents growing up in high-poverty neighborhoods are at risk for a range of negative outcomes. Girls face specific threats because of their gender— omnipresent harassment, pressure for early sexual initiation, pervasive intimate partner violence, and high risk of sexual assault. This article uses mixed-methods data from the Three-City Study of Moving to Opportunity (MTO) to explore how moving to lower-poverty neighborhoods may have influenced adolescent girls’ life chances.”

Hidden in Plain Sight: Sexual Harassment and Assault in the New York City Subway System
Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President’s Office, 2007 “Over the past year and a half, the Office of the Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer (MBPO) has received feedback from female subway riders who feel unsafe during their daily commutes and who have too often become victims of sexual harassment or assault on the subway. In an effort to better understand the extent of this harassment and assault in the New York City subway system and to develop a framework for improved rider safety, the MBPO conducted an online survey garnering responses from a large and diverse group of New York City subway riders.”

Street Harassment and the Informal Ghettoization of Women
Cynthia Grant Bowman, 1993, Cornell Law Faculty Publications “The law often overlooks harms to women.  One such harm is the harass­ment that women face when they travel along city streets and appear in other public places. This street harassment can have profound effects on women’s full participation in  the  public sphere.  In this  Article, Professor Bowman calls attention to these harms and proposes potential legal remedies for the harassment of women on the public streets.”

Street Harassment: the language of sexual terrorism
Elizabeth Arveda Kissling, 1991, Discourse & Society “In this article I analyze the social meanings of men’s public harassment of women unknown to them. I consider various interpretations of street harassment, such as the harmless girl-watching some men claim to engage in or the invasions of privacy many women perceive in such behavior. Next I discuss multiple social functions of such harassment, and argue that all of these functions can be seen to work together to produce an environment of sexual terrorism. I also include a brief discussion of the importance of women naming their experiences of street harassment and suggestions for future communication research on this and other social issues of concern to women.”

Street Smut: Gender, Media and Legal Dynamics of Street Harassment or “Hey Sexy” and Other Verbal Ejaculations
Olatokunbo Olukemi Laniya, 2005, Columbia Journal of Gender and Law “The nexus between harassment of women in public spaces and the media is clear. The interplay between law and media in the context of the harassment of women in public arenas may be examined through different media representations and through the legal outcomes of a specific occurrence of sexual harassment of women in a public space. This article focuses on the sexual assaults that took place after the 2000 Puerto Rican Day Parade.”

Stop Street Harassment
Holly Kearl, 2010 “The 2010 Stop Street Harassment book is groundbreaking for its exploration of an under-acknowledged, under-researched, and under-discussed topic. The book is informed by more than 1,000 women’s experience, collected through online surveys and the Stop Street Harassment Blog. Also, more than 20 anti-street harassment activists contributed their ideas for stopping street harassment.”

The Harm That Has No Name
Deirdre Davis, UCLA Women’s Law Journal, 1994 “In her article Street Harassment and the Informal Ghettoization of Women, Law Professor Cynthia Grant Bowman explores street harassment as a harm and the necessity of legally recognizing street harassment’s oppressive effects. This Article explores the idea that “we cannot hope to understand the meaning of a person’s experiences, including her experiences of oppression, without first thinking of her as embodied, and second thinking about the particular meanings assigned to that embodiment” in the context of street harassment and African American women.”

Theorizing Black Lesbians within Black Feminism: A Critique of Same-Race Street Harassment
Hawley G. Fogg-Davis, 2006, Politics & Gender “Street harassment is a form of sexual terrorism that reminds women of their vulnerability to violent assault in public and semipublic spaces. Black women’s experiences of street harassment are complicated by their race, and by the race of their harasser(s). Black feminists’ political vocabulary of intersectional analysis offers a useful framework for portraying the indivisibility of race and gender in black women’s lives, but the extension of intersectional criticism to capture black lesbians’ political vulnerability within black politics and civic life has been neither automatic nor consistent in black feminist theory. This article invokes the 2003 street harassment and subsequent murder of a black lesbian teenager by a black male assailant in Newark, NJ, both to demonstrate black heterosexual women’s interest convergence with black lesbians in black civic life, and to urge black feminists to be less equivocal in holding black men and women responsible for their participation in black patriarchy.”

The Prevalence and Context of Sexual Harassment Among African American and White American Women
Gail E. Wyatt and Monika Riederle, 1995,  Journal of Interpersonal Violence “Ethnic differences in the prevalence, type, and outcome of sexual harassment in various work and social settings were examined in a stratified community sample of 248 African American and White American women. Almost half of the women reported sexual harassment in work and social environments. Significant ethnic differences were found in the prevalence and type of sexual harassment and in victim characteristics in work settings. Single African American victims of harassment in social settings were significantly more likely to have incomes at or below the poverty level, compared to their White peers.”