Street Harassment Focus Group Opportunity! The letter below has been submitted by an awesome young lady I met at Goucher’s Take Back The Night event. If anyone is interested please get in touch with her. I plan on being there myself and would love to meet some of our readers and story submitters! -Shawna, director of Hollaback Bmore!
I am a senior at Goucher College, currently completing my undergraduate thesis on how women respond to street harassment. This is an incredibly personal topic, as I have experienced a large amount of street harassment myself. I first began receiving comments from strange men on the street when I developed breasts; later, when I began to rely on public transportation as a major way to get around, the comments increased in frequency and also in intensity. Let’s just say it was a very frightening experience indeed for an 18-year old to hear, on her first real time away from home in an entirely new state, that a 40-year old man wanted to have her babies. And to be touched, shouted at, and propositioned for prostitution by men double my age. To receive “cheering” when I yawned, because, hey, an open mouth is the international sign for oral sex.
Since my first days of experiencing unwanted sexual attention, I have come a long ways. I no longer just accept the comments or groping. Indeed, according to categories Holly Kearl discusses in her book, I use some of the most assertive strategies out there. This is not because I am a particularly assertive person, but rather that I am simply trying to stay alive.
I am fortunate enough to be able to direct my attention to this topic for the next semester. I am looking for women able to attend a focus group that will last an hour to an hour and a half and which will be held at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD. I am hoping to hold the focus group in September. The date/time is negotiable. Refreshments will be served! My only requirements for focus group participants are that they are women who live in Baltimore. The groups will be audio-recorded, but the only people who will see the transcriptions are myself and my thesis advisors. The audio will be destroyed immediately after transcription.
By attending the focus group, you will have a chance to make connections with other women in the area, who have, perhaps, shared your same experiences. It is not necessary that you have experienced much, if any, street harassment to participate.
To express interest taking part in the group, or to ask questions, please contact laurel DOT long AT mail DOT goucher DOT edu Even though the focus groups will not take place until September, I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.