Do you ever wish that you had a quick, reflexive response to situations in which you’re confronted with street harassment? Countless women have experienced street harassment, and many know firsthand that a single catcall can escalate into something much more aggressive when the harassers are confronted about their behavior. Now, one woman is working to empower others through the creation of pocket-sized cards, designed to educate street harassers about why their behavior is simply unacceptable.
Remember that quick, reflexive response to catcalls and verbal street harassment you wanted? It’s called Cards Against Harassment, and it’s an empowering comeback to unwarranted comments about your body, physical touching, and catcalls from total strangers. Created by Lindsey (who wishes to keep her last name anonymous), a 28-year-old Minneapolis resident and longtime confronter of street harassers, Cards Against Harassment is a project that stemmed from her own experiences with verbal and physical harassment by strangers.
Cards Against Harassment launched this summer, and, unsurprisingly, has become a vital resource for women who are tired of succumbing to verbal harassment and not knowing how (or feeling safe enough) to respond. “The street harassment my friends and I encounter tends to take the form of brief but frustrating interactions,” says Lindsey. “Comments made just as men pass by on the street, over so quickly you rarely have a chance to respond,” are just some of what she and many women are up against. Tired of feeling powerless, Lindsey began confronting even the subtlest of unwarranted catcalls from passersby, seeking answers about the intentions of these men, and even bravely filming these encounters to help share her experience with others.
For those situations where handing out a Card Against Harassment is safe and appropriate, it might just feel like the most empowering response to street harassment available to you. It’s even more valuable than getting angry and frustrated with a catcaller because it embodies a rapid, nonverbal response that will allow you to carry on with your day. Lindsey is quick to acknowledge that Cards Against Harassment is not for everyone or every situation. It’s always important to feel safe and remove yourself from an encounter that is escalating quickly; if your harasser is becoming too aggressive to confront, handing them an informative card will do little to educate them.
Learn more about the project, street harassment, and how to print your own Cards Against Harassment by visiting www.cardsagainstharassment.com.