March 30–April 5 is the annual International Anti-Street Harassment Week. To mark the occasion, marches took place in 71 cities in 24 countries. People participated in sidewalk chalk parties and street rallies, and put up banners to raise awareness about street harassment.
Nuala Cabral and Holly Kearl founded Stop Street Harassment first as a blog in 2008, which evolved into an NGO in 2012. They also founded International Anti-Street Harassment Week in 2012. It is held in the first week of April to amplify activists’ voices throughout the month which has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the United States and to bring awareness to the issue as spring begins which has been recognized as a season when harassment increases.
Organizers said “Street harassment undermines gender equality. Though it often goes unnoticed or dismissed as a minor problem or a joke, street harassment violates women’s essential rights. Therefore, it is a serious issue.” In cooperation with Hollaback!, an international movement to end street harassment, Stop Street Harassment carried out online and offline activism.
During the week, posters featuring portraits of women were put up across the United States. The art series entitled ‘Stop Telling Women to Smile’ has been created by Tatyana Falalizadeh, an African-American and Iranian artist. While anti-street harassment rallies took place at Washington Square Park, Massachusetts held ‘Take Back the Bar’ event to ensure that women and sexual minorities feel safe in public at night.
In Kathmandu, Nepal, dozens of women took to the street and urged the government to install more street lamps to ensure women’s safety in public spaces at night. In India, SafeCity, a civic group, created an interactive map based on documented harassment cases to identify safe and unsafe places for women and girls.