Street Harassment: A Human Rights Issue?

photoBY VICTORIA TRAVERS

By using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights there may be no confusion as to whether Street Harassment is a Human Rights issue. Article 1 states:

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

By telling a woman she has “ a great rack”, calling a gay man a “fucking faggot”, or removing one’s penis from its appropriate abode in public is not behaving in the “spirit of brotherhood”, not by any stretch of the imagination. Street Harassment is a Human Rights issue.

Article 2:

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

“Everyone” includes women and LGBTQ individuals, everyone has the right to express themselves freely in public spaces without fear of abuse from strangers. A transgender person has the right to identify his or herself in the way that feels natural to them, as a woman has the right to dress as she pleases without threat or aggravation. Street Harassment is a Human Rights issue.

Article 3:

“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

Women and LGBTQ individuals have the right to live and express themselves in public spaces without worry of being badgered, stalked, flashed, groped, abused, whistled at, masturbated at or raped. Street Harassment is a Human Rights issue.

Article 5:

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Calling a transgender person ‘it’ a ‘tranny’ or a ‘heshe’ is inhumane, degrading, torturous and cruel. Physically attacking a gay person because of their sexual orientation is inhumane, degrading, torturous and cruel. Putting your hand up a woman’s skirt on the subway is inhumane, degrading, torturous and cruel. Street Harassment is a Human Rights issue.

Perpetrators of Street Harassment may argue that it is their human right to express themselves freely, but at this point it is relevant to refer ‘spirit of brotherhood’ cited in Article 1, the connotations of brotherhood do not include any form of abuse be it physical or verbal. Street Harassment is unquestionably a Human Rights issue.

Question answered. Revolution Started.

 

 

 

 

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  1. [...] posted on iHollaback.org January 6th, 2012. Related [...]

  2. [...] to help others while helping myself. I’m glad Cosmo decided to take on this under-reported human rights issue, but I guess I take it for granted that people already know that it can and does [...]

  3. E.L.May says:

    Hooray!I like this–can we lose the gender binary though? :)

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