A group of women have taken the problem of sexual harassment on the streets of Mexico and responded in a way that is empowering, impossible to ignore, and, well, fun.
When a member of the Las Hijas De Violencia is harassed on the street, they confront the harasser, sprinkle them with confetti from a plastic confetti gun, turn on speakers housed in backpacks and belt out a punk song that demands to be heard. The song, Sexista Punk, pumps out a fast punk beat and raw, powerful lyrics like “You talk to me as if you’re going to rape me,” and “If you do this to me this way, I will respond.” The group encourages women to empower themselves, have fun, and turn around harassment so it doesn’t ruin your day.
Reporting street harassment incidents is rare and there is no law against it in Mexico. Even if the calls to enact a new law make headway, it would take an incredible amount of time and many are tired of the current conditions. Talking to Al Jazeera, a member of the women’s rights group Habitajes AC stressed the importance “to take direct action, to educate, to talk to other women, so that they can identify the harassment and they can ask for help.”
Sexual street harassment is no small issue .Being singled out by a stranger based on your gender and physical appearance can leave the victim feeling violated, self conscious, and even afraid for their safety. It is not harmless as many make it out be; even the United Nations has taken a stance. It happens all over the world and can range from unwanted comments to groping to following and even rape.
In the video, a Las Hijas De Violencia member says, “We certainly don’t think we’re going to change the world. But we sure know that we’ve changed ours.” The group hopes the movement will spread outside of Mexico.
Maybe a confetti gun and a punk song will get your attention. If not, I’m sure Las Hijas De Violencia will find a way somehow.
Want some resources on how to deal with street harassment?
- StopStreetHarrassment.org has strategies for dealing with harassment: http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/strategies/
- Bitch Media has stories of ways to stop street harassment: https://bitchmedia.org/post/seven-stories-of-ways-to-stop-street-harassment
- hollaback! gives suggestions on how to respond and a place to share your stories of harassment: http://www.ihollaback.org/resources/responding-to-harassers/