Street Harassment, Flirting and the Law: What Do YOU Think?

Alice Reighly, President of DC's Anti-Flirt Club, which was active in the 1920s.
Alice Reighly, President of DC’s Anti-Flirt Club, which was active in the 1920s.

One-hundred and twelve years ago today (1/9/1902), New York State introduced a bill to outlaw flirting in public.

Another little known fact: DC has a long history of anti-street harassment advocacy. In the 1920s, the DC Anti-Flirt Club worked to “protect young women and girls from unwelcome attention from men in automobiles and on street corners.”

What do you think your community would be like if flirting in public were criminalized? How would “flirting” be defined, and what would be the criteria? How would flirting be distinguished from harassment? How would community interactions change? If this something you’d want to see? What would be some of the negative effects? (We can think of lots!) Let us know what you think in the comments!

DC street art by ADAPT!


Help Keep DC Safe: Support CASS on Giving Tuesday!

Help Keep DC Safe: Support CASS's anti-street harassment work on Giving Tuesday!

One of CASS’s most popular areas of work is our public street art! Street art is a great way to reclaim public space, as well as to spread the word about the need to stop public sexual harassment in a visible, accessible way. This year, in conjunction with local artist/activist ADAPT, we led a street art workshop to put up anti-street harassment wheatpastings around DC. We’ve been *so thrilled* that one of the most visible pieces, located at 14 & P, has been up since the beginning of the year. But last week, it was defaced.

We want to commit to more street art in 2014 — as well as more workshops, more trainings, more policy work & whatever is needed to keep DC safe! But we need your support. This year, CASS is participating in Giving Tuesday, an unofficial holiday to encourage philanthropic giving.

Instead of spending $5 at Starbucks on Tuesday, December 3rd, donate it to making the nation’s capital a safer place for everyone. Your money will provide for more trainings, more workshops, and more understanding about the prevalence of this issue. …And, hey, it’ll give you a lot of street cred as you walk by the street art next year and say to your friend, “I made that happen.” 

Sign up now to receive a #GivingTuesday reminder from CASS on December 3rd!

>>> UPDATE: Donate to CASS through our page for Case’s Giving Tuesday matching program between 11:00 am and 11:59 pm EST today (12/3/13), and your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar.

CASS Takes Back The Streets! Sidewalk chalking in Dupont Circle

On Sunday, Collective Action for Safe Spaces took to the streets — or at least the Circle — to help kick off the Second Annual Meet Us On The Street: International Anti-Street Harassment Week (April 7-13). Joined by Stop Street Harassment, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture (which rallied lots of participation for its new photo project on consent), the DC Rape Crisis Center and fellow community activists, CASS led a sidewalk chalking event to spread anti-street harassment messages across DC’s Dupont Circle!

Colorful chalk with phrases like “My name is not ‘Hey Baby,'” “Street harassment is not a compliment,” “My body is NOT public space,” and “I deserve safe streets” can be found all over the Dupont Circle area.  From passerbys to those enjoying the beautiful day, we received TONS of positive feedback and engaged in great conversations about preventing street harassment.

>>Tweet us your photos if you come across our chalkings (or our other street art, for that matter)! @safespacesDC

Taking It To The Streets! CASS Workshop on Street Art

Taking It To The Streets! CASS Workshop on Street Art

What does our public space mean to us? How can we use art to reclaim it? How does art start conversations, turn bystanders into upstanders, and build movements?

These are the questions CASS contemplated during our workshop this past Friday on how to use street art, or “artivism” to address gender-based public sexual harassment and assault. The event, held in partnership with DC’s Women’s Information Network (WIN) and featuring CASS’s artist in residence, ADAPT, was part of WAM! It Yourself 2013, a multi-city event by Women, Action & the Media.

Creative expression can be a powerful and cathartic element of self-care, and artivism is a great way to send a message to your community that street harassment needs to stop!

During the workshop, we built space for two kinds of creativity: The kind that involves cutting out and coloring lots of prints, and the kind that redefines the idea of “community” by making safety and opportunity for survivors of violence a priority. Participants were given the choice to exercise their First Amendment rights by hitting the streets and doing some legal wheatpasting with CASS’s Designer in Residence, Graham Boyle, or to participate in the story-sharing workshop that yielded the original images.

In just two hours, we filled the streets with the voices of women calling for an end for public sexual harassment and assault.

Contact us for information on how to conduct an artivism workshop in your group or community — and let us know when you spot any of our art in the Farragut area!

Huge thanks to Holly Kearl, Andrea Gleaves and Ashley Juraska for the photos! Check out all of Holly’s photos of the event here.

And Don’t Forget — If you spot any of our art, strike a pose, send us your pic, and
WIN FREE TIX ($25) to our party, “Lights, Camera, (Collective) Action!”

Win free tix to our party next Thursday, March 28!

Have you spotted any of our *awesome* anti-harassment street art around the city?

…We’ve got a deal for you!

The first THREE people who post a photo of themselves (yup, we’d love to see you in it!) with our street art to our Facebook page will win a FREE ticket to our to fundraiser party, Lights, Camera, (Collective) Action! next Thursday, March 28th, at Room & Board in NW DC.

That’s a $25 value for a night of DJ tunes, live jazz, wine, and empowerment 🙂


Photo credit: @MsSarey
Photo credit: @MsSarey
Photo credit: @KChatlosh
Photo credit: @KChatlosh
Photo credit: @KChatlosh
Photo credit: @KChatlosh
Photo credit: Borderstan/Flikr user DoctorJ.Bass
Photo credit: Borderstan/Flikr user DoctorJ.Bass