Cornell University

September 11 2012

How To Help

Event on street harassment research pursues next steps

"Street Harassment: What We Know and How Your Organization, Union or Workplace Can Help" will be held Sept. 21 at the ILR Conference Center in New York City.

Co-sponsors are The Worker Institute at Cornell, Hollaback!, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and New York City Council Member Julissa Ferreras. The event follows research released in April. Registration is required.

Taking action usually has a positive influence on a target's emotional response to street harassment, according to research produced through a Worker Institute and Hollaback! partnership.

Hollaback! offers free smart phone applications to give street harassment targets a voice on Hollaback! blogs and has inspired an international movement.

To better understand how street harassment is experienced, the Worker Institute analyzed a random selection of 223 descriptions of street harassment experiences submitted by New Yorkers to the Hollaback! website between 2005 and 2008.

To see a snapshot of how social service providers and unions respond to reports of street harassment, 110 agencies and unions were surveyed.

Researcher takeaways include:

  • Emotional reactions to street harassment vary. But, any type of harassment – verbal, groping or assault – can produce extreme feelings of fear, anger and shame.
  • Targets who take action while experiencing street harassment appear to experience less negative emotional impact than those who did not.
  • Bystander inaction to harassment was highly unacceptable, most targets said.

To expand discussion around next steps, the Sept. 21 program features speakers from community organizations and other groups.

Kim Azzarelli, senior vice president of Newsweek Daily Beast and president of Women in The World Foundation will give opening remarks.

Emily May, co-founder Hollaback!, will frame a vision for empowerment, activism and social change.

KC Wagner, chair of the Worker Institute's Equity at Work Initiative, and Beth Livingston, a Cornell ILR School assistant professor, will present what research revealed about individual and organizational perspectives.

Discussion panelists include:

  • Lucia Rivieccio, director, RAPP/STEPS to End Family Violence
  • Catherine Shugrue dos Santos, deputy director, in charge of client services, New York City Anti-Violence Project
  • Farah Tanis, co-founder and executive director, Black Women's Blueprint
  • Jenn Sayre, director of training and development, Green Dot Campaign
  • Quentin Walcott, co-executive director, CONNECT
  • Elizabeth Wilson, acting recording secretary, and Erica Guerrido, recording secretary, both from Rapid Transit Operations, Transport Workers Union, Local 100.

More information about the event is available by contacting Wagner of the Worker Institute at kcw8@cornell.edu.