Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Men’s intrusion: rethinking street harassment by Fiona Vera-Gray

To capture the impact of ‘street harassment’ on women’s sense of self, we may need to rethink our language to better fit the lived experience.

... Attention to women’s experiences of intrusive men in public space is having something of a resurgence. Traditionally one of the most understudied yet commonly experienced forms of violence against women, the renewed focus is due in no small part to the ways in which digital platforms have been harnessed to make the experience visible, with apps like Harassmap used to show the scale of such practices, or the use of social media to share videos like this onefrom Imkaan and the End Violence Against Women Coalition, capturing Black women’s testimonies of how sexist practices are radicalised. ...

The term ‘street harassment’ is drawn from the pioneering work of Catharine MacKinnon and Liz Farley to define sexual harassment in the late 1970’s. This work originally aimed to mark out occupational sexual harassment in order to provide a structure for legislative redress, though it was later broadened to include educational institutions, an increasing area of policy focus today from sexual harassment in schools, to sexual harassment in universities. ...


This article first appeared in open Democracy. It is part of a series curated by Liz Kelly for the 16 Days of Activism to End to Gender-based Violence. 

Inspired by our participation with the Write to End Violence Against Women awards organised by Zero Tolerance, we are now collecting examples of good journalism about domestic and sexual violence and abuse to make it clear that it is possible to write about DSVA without resorting to myths, misrepresentations, minimisation and victim blaming.

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