July 21, 2014

6 Take-aways from the #YouOKSis Twitter Chat

Earlier this month there was an amazing Twitter chat on the subject of street harassment. Pause.

Street Harassment
"Unwelcome words and actions by unknown persons in public places which are motivated by gender and invade a person’s physical and emotional space in a disrespectful, creepy, startling, scary, or insulting way." -stopstreetharassment.org

This important Twitter chat was lead by the charge of activist and blogger @feministajones. Women shared their stories and discussed prevention and intervention tactics to help end street harassment. While the conversation was productive and encouraging overall, you can't have a conversation without the trolls. Event though they are never invited, they somehow manage to find vulnerable situations and attempt to hulk smash all of the feel good and kumbaya taking place. In case you missed this conversation, I included a few key takeaways below, so we can continue to grow and put this ridiculous practice to bed.

6) A lot of women experience street harassment everyday. A lot. In fact, 65 percent of women in the United States reported being harassed in the street by men according to a study by Stop Street Harassment. Even more alarming was the average AGE at which women most women said that they had their first street harassment encounter. Why would a grown man think it's OK to "compliment" the body of a 12 year old? We have to speak up and protect our girls. They are worth more than a creepy leer on their way to school.

4) Speaking of compliments... Men have no idea how to talk to women they don't know, or the definition of compliment. In fact, the mere mention of street harassment is often met with ridicule.



3) Some women experience street assault, like 41%. In what world is it OK for someone to physically assault someone for walking way? Oh that's right, the one that sends rape threats to women speaking out about rape.

2) Women have gotten really creative in avoiding/dealing with Street harassment. While I saved some of the tips, and even found this awesome website, this is really ridiculous. A woman walking down the street IS NOT an invitation. An actual invitation would be more like, "Excuse me, I want to respect your space by staying in my damn lane. Over here. Away from you. Without speaking."

1) We are our greatest ally. While there were a few men (like 4) who respected the twitter chat and saw its significance. Most men and a few women didn't understand why a woman would be complaining about attention from a man ever. Every person deserves to feel safe,  and no one understands that a woman's safety isn't promised like another woman. By simply asking a woman "You OK Sis?" in these situations we can empower each other, and take a stand.


This conversation did not end with the Twitter chat. Join the movement and let me know how you combat street harassment @herdiamondback!
 

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