By Demetria Irwin, Managing Editor
Feminist, activist and blogger Feminista Jones has launched a new campaign called #YouOkSis to combat street harassment. The Twitter chat began June 10th in conjunction with NewsOne and the conversation is still going strong. Street harassment affects Single and married women alike because harassers tend not to care about wedding bands. Whenever a lady is on the street alone, she is vulnerable to this dehumanizing abuse. In advance of the official launch of #YouOkSis, Feminista Jones chatted with SLF in an exclusive interview about the purpose of the campaign.
“My goal with #YouOKSis is to come up with concrete strategies on how we can help people who are victims of street harassment,” said Jones who frequently uses digital presence to discuss street harassment. ” Online spaces give people freedom to speak openly, which can be very healing. That’s just the beginning, however. We must come up with ways that we can look out for each other. Bystander intervention in support of victims has been proven to help reduce trauma and crime, so why not do what we can? We’ll have the conversation and people can share experiences and share solutions. I want to literally take it to the streets and use community to protect our community.”
Jones has a theory as to why more bystanders, especially men, do not intervene when they see a woman in obvious distress from street harassment. “I think some men don’t recognize what they see as harassment. As a society, we’re so conditioned to men interacting with women in those ways that we’ve become desensitized to it. There is a fear of interfering with ‘personal’ business. It’s the same when people see domestic violence happening or witness abusive arguments and say nothing. Finally, I think people are afraid of what might happen to them if they intervene and the man gets really aggressive,” explained Jones.
Watch the video below to see Feminista Jones and other women recount their street harassment experiences. Have you joined in the #YouOkSis conversation? Men and women from all over the country have already shared their stories. Some men (some not all) took issue with the street harassment conversation and sent strongly worded tweets against the campaign and Feminista Jones herself.
What are your experiences with street harassment? Do the men in your life understand when you talk about it?