Street harassment is hard to stop because it’s everywhere. But savvy women have increasingly been taking to the Internet to raise awareness about the issue, combating cat-calling through social media. Feminista Jones, a social worker and writer, began a hashtag campaign—#YouOKSis—designed to raise awareness and encourage women to check in on each other, to stand up for people being harassed on the street.
Jones told The Grio that she started the campaign after seeing a woman being harassed. “She was probably 20 or 21, pushing a stroller with a newborn. I just went and asked her, ‘Are you OK, sis?’ and she said she was fine and so I kept walking.”
The idea of the campaign is to inspire bystanders to engage with people who are being harassed, to intervene gently. “If you just talk to the person who is the focus of the harassment, you’re placing yourself in the moment and giving that person an out,” Jones told the Grio. “It’s something that breaks up the situation and diverts attention from the victim.”
Jones wanted particularly to address black women’s experience of harassment, something she feels is often overlooked.
“I wanted to center our voices, because I feel like black women’s voices are not always amplified,” Jones told The Atlantic. “And I feel it’s my responsibility to do that.”
Jones hopes that she can bring this interactive support network off the Internet and onto the sidewalk, through workshops and writing. In the meantime, women can tweet about their experiences with the hashtag #YouOkSis.
(Image via NewsOne)