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Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women Paperback – April 21, 2012

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Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women + Back Off:  How to Confront and Stop Sexual Harassment and Harassers + Hey, Shorty!: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and on the Streets
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women (April 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615634613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615634616
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,657,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


• Allows women to tell their own stories about the harmful effects of street harassment, including the myriad and complex ways it impedes gender equity

• Empowers women by helping them understand they are not at fault and equips them with ways to cope and challenge the behavior

• Helps men understand why such behavior is offensive, frightening, and potentially criminal

• Provides concrete tactics, illustrated by real success stories, for how women can deal with harassers and how anyone who sees harassment occurring can intervene

• Compelling anecdotes pulled from hundreds of women's stories that detail what harassment they have experienced, how it makes them feel, and how it impacts their lives

• Groundbreaking information from surveys conducted around the world detailing the number of women who experience street harassment, how often, and in what forms

• Suggestions for numerous, concrete actions women and men can take to stop street harassment and information on over 20 anti-street-harassment initiatives now underway

• Interviews with community activists to inspire readers to take action

• A companion website,, features the results of two surveys conducted by the author and a presentation of myths vs. facts about street harassment

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

The evidence is unmistakable, the numbers alarming. Over 80 percent of women experience gender-based harassment from unknown men in public, including whistling, sexually-explicit comments, groping, stalking, and assault. One study of 800 women reported that 75 percent had been followed and 57 percent sexually touched. How can it be that so few people recognize this as a problem?

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Holly Kearl is a writer, speaker, and nonprofit professional based in the Washington, D.C. area.

She is the author of two books about gender-based street harassment and the co-author of a national report about sexual harassment in grades 7-12, Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School (AAUW, 2011).

She is the founder of the nonprofit Stop Street Harassment and she does part-time, paid consulting work for organizations like the United Nations and the American Association of University Women.

Her work has been cited by the United Nations, New York City Council, BBC News, New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, NPR,,, and, among others.

She has written articles for the Guardian,, Huffington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and the Ms. magazine blog.

She has given more than 75 presentations about street harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual assault across the country and in India and Egypt.

Kearl received a master's degree in public policy and women's studies from George Washington University and she received a BA from Santa Clara University.

Learn more at and you can follow her on Twitter, @hkearl.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kearl's scholarly book is written with articulate ease. She has the gift of writing about weighty subjects in a straightforward and engaging manner, that will hook the professional, the student, and the young teenager who is either the potential victim of or potential perpetrator of street harassment. My 21 year old nephew picked up the book to read and within a minute was totally engaged, oblivious to the chaos around him in my house full of guests, he just read and read.

Kearl gives a voice to those of us who have come to accept cat calls, groping and unwanted male advances as just a part of life we have to put up with. This book will empower victims of street harassment by giving them practical, safe suggestions and solutions. It will also help those of us who have been frightened on the streets, the subway, in parks, or at the mall, feel less alone. Kearl has given a voice for all of us, with the countless stories she has gathered from women around the world. As a young adult fiction author who works with teenagers across the country, I can highly recommend this book for any teenager in your life, as well as women and men of every age. a great empowering read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Elevate Difference on April 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Street harassment is rampant in all parts of the world--from New York City to Tokyo to Cairo--yet it is still accepted globally. This largely ignored problem is thoroughly discussed and analyzed in Holly Kearl's book entitled, Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women. Defined by Kearl in the first chapter as "unwanted attention" in public places, street harassment includes and is not limited to "physically harmless leers, whistles, honks, kissing noises, and nonsexually explicit evaluative comments," but also extends to "more insulting and threatening behavior like vulgar gestures, sexually charged comments, flashing, and stalking, to illegal actions like public masturbation, sexual touching, assault, and rape." Many (if not most) women experience it; very few men know about it.

The second chapter explains the context in which street harassment occurs. If a young girl, perhaps wearing a short skirt, walks alone on a street at night and is sexually assaulted, she would most likely be blamed for the assault, right? Wrong, Kearl tells us; her clothing and time she chose to walk outside is not her fault that she was sexually assaulted. As someone who lived in a small town in Morocco for half a year, I can attest that I wore conservative clothes yet still experienced men whistling and throwing rocks at me in the light of the day. Therefore, Kearl explains, street harassment is a power dynamic that shows which gender wields more power and control in a given society.

Yet street harassment is not just a gendered issue; it is multi-layered with race, socioeconomic status, gender expression, and disability, as Kearl writes in the third chapter. It is "a global problem," as the title of the fourth chapter states.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Gardner on August 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The other reviewers have brought up many of Kearl's best qualities as a writer and as a practical tactician for the inequalities of public places.

I'd like to add a sentiment of my own and to point out a virtue of Kearl's too often neglected: As well as a fine and inspiring writer, Holly Kearl is one of those individuals who provides readers with new thoughts about and plans for how to live our everyday lives, and this is so whether we are women or men. She does something more and much rarer. She is a model analyst of and theoretician about everyday life and about gender relations.

Kearl's work should be read by those who think about theories of how we experience the social world, as well as by those who wish an invitation for how to change the social world.

Carol Gardner
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