New York City’s catcallers can get away with a lot, but a new community group based in Bed-Stuy seeks to confront them and their casual harassment. The Brooklyn Movement Center, a community organization dedicated to bringing “together residents of Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights to identify issues of importance,” has formed a bicycle group that will patrol neighborhood streets with the intent of tackling street harassment, DNAinfo reports.
Catcalling is prevalent in NYC but also across the country. A study authored by advocacy group Hollaback and Cornell University found that “85 percent of nearly 5,000 women polled in America experienced street harassment for the first time before age 17. More than 11 percent reported their first harassment before age 11,” according to DNAinfo.
And Brooklyn is no different, that’s why Brooklyn Movement Center’s “Anti-Street Harassment Bike Patrol,” wild address the issue in several ways, many of which are unconventional. Group members won’t be encouraged to inflame situations by drawing attention to the interactions between instigators and women, but will “use eye contact with ‘harassers’ to let them know they are being watched and to start meaningful conversation,” DNAinfo reports.
To that end, the bike patrols will also create diversions to draw attention to unwanted street harassment, by doing things like interjecting in conversations by asking questions, or by making noise that throws harassers off.
But Brooklyn Movement Center’s organizers want to make clear that the bike patrol won’t be meant to shame those involved or initiate conflict between catcallers and women. Carina Arellano, an organizer involved with the bicycle project, told DNAinfo ,”We want to work on community building and make people more aware of these issues,” adding that the goal was to enable dialogue.
“We want to create safe spaces to discuss how we feel when we are being harassed and communicate with people in a safe way to make it conversational, not confrontational.”
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