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Street harassment gets mapped


End Street Harassment organizational meeting

Fair Grounds Coffeehouse — Thursday, Mar. 3 at 5:30 p.m.

Map data ©2016 Google
Map data ©2016 Google

An interactive, anonymous Google map allows victims of street harassment in Iowa City to map incidents.

End Street Harassment Iowa City founder Stella Hart and group member Corey Stone developed the map, which allows victims of street harassment to place a pin and digital note about incidents they experience. In April, during Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), the group will visit these sites and leave notes about harassment to further bring awareness to the problems people face from name-callers, gropers and stalkers.

“We can show people that it’s going on in the community around them — whether they pay attention to it or not,” Stone said.

The group will hold an organizational meeting tonight at Fair Grounds Coffeehouse. It will be a planning session for SAAM, which will involve a series of activities and actions from Apr. 10-16, including a Punks Against Sexual Violence concert at Public Space One on Apr. 11 from 6-10 p.m.

Street harassment is unsolicited, unwanted attention. It can include groping, touching, name calling, whistling, hooting or other noises, as well as stalking, or other forms of verbal or physical assault.

Hart said that although street harassment is often directed at a particular gender, queer people and people of color can also experience these scary and tense confrontations. She talked about people changing their routes to work or class as a result of harassment and that someone could be thrown off their concentration before a big test if harassed beforehand. “They [harassers] don’t really realize the impact it can have on your daily life,” Hart said.

She said she’s experienced harassment at a higher rate in Iowa City than anywhere she’s visited and described seeing a similar paper map posted at the Women’s Resource and Action Center.

What can people do if they see street harassment? The number one thing is to stay safe, Hart said. Those who rush to aid victims can find themselves in trouble.

As for those who say that their insults were “just a joke” or “Can’t you take a compliment?,” Hart said it’s one thing when a friend of hers jokes about her appearance or compliments they way she looks, but another when a stranger wants her attention.

Hart said street harassment was rude and inappropriate at best and dangerous and frightening at its worst. “Don’t do it,” Stone said, adding that people could easily ask their friends to stop harassing.

The group is also planning bystander intervention training and discussions, postering and sidewalk chalking.


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