Sunday, December 1, 2013

Street Harassment Workshop

Photo: Washington Post
The Post reported on the Street Harassment Workshop that was held Nov. 20. The workshop was co-sponsored by WABA's Women & Bicycles program and Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS). From How should bicyclists handle harassment? D.C. area groups teach empowerment tactics:
Recently, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association partnered with Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) in the District to give cyclists a safe place to vent and discuss harassment prevention and empowerment strategies, said Nelle Pierson, WABA’s coordinator of outreach programs.

“A lot of women start biking because it is empowering, but also because they can just get away from a situation,” said Zosia Sztykowski, 28, of Columbia Heights, the lead outreach coordinator for CASS, a grassroots organization dedicated to building awareness and ending sexual assault and harassment on the streets. The organization produces a blog that curates women’s experiences with street harassment. “A lot of people think street harassment happens just to them and that they’re alone,” she said.

Sztykowski said there are several methods to engage the harasser, including employing a response such as: “Stop harassing people. I don’t like it. No one likes it. Show some respect.”

Bystanders can help by confronting or distracting the perpetrator or seeking help from law enforcement on the victim’s behalf. Often, bystanders avoid getting involved because they worry that they have misread the situation, think someone else will step in to help or believe that the target attracted the negative attention due to some fault of his or her own, according to Strange.

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