Russia Making Strides

By Sarah Merriman

As in most countries across the world, Russia has been conservative in its’ approach to stopping street harassment. Now, however, that’s finally changing.

Thanks to the guerrilla efforts of RosNahal, an anti-sexism group, the current ruling party of Russia seems to have realized the damaging effects that street harassment has on women in their cities. RosNahal recently released a video that depicts acts of street harassment to expose its’ aggressive and hurtful nature; and this time, activism worked.

Though a fine for harassers is still in the discussion stages and the harassment must be documented, this is a huge step in Russia, a country where there is no law against verbal harassment in the workplace or otherwise. The possible law is also potentially revolutionary on the global stage.

The Duma (Russia’s legislative body) is taking more of a feminist stance on harassment than most countries. The path to formalized legislative support appears to be informal proof that street harassment compromises women’s safety. Hollaback! is encouraging that “proof” through video and text documentation every day. In Belgium, a fine was just instated for harassers after a woman documented her “day of harassment;” and recently Saudi Arabia outlawed harassment. Slowly legislation and daily realities are beginning to match up.

We shouldn’t have to work so hard prove that a phenomenon which has been happening to our grandmothers, mothers, and now our daughters and friends is truly threatening. As long as we do though, we can continue to fight for breakthroughs such as Russia’s where the actions of our lawmaking bodies match women’s need for everyday safety.

For the full story on RosNahal, click here.


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