#Streetharassment hurts’ battle through the social media
Following the recent controversial incident in Wariyapola, a group of academically and socially qualified activists has initiated the campaign titled ‘#Streetharassmenthurts’ on social media site- Face book. Their intention is to create a dialogue among the community on street harassment of women and make it a strong and continuous campaign in public awareness. In the social media page of #Streetharassmenthurts many have shared their experiences on street harassment and they have said that their aim is to educate people to rise against injustice without ignoring it. A female academic who initiated this campaign spoke to the on condition of anonymity. “I initiated this campaign to raise awareness about the harassment that takes place on the streets of Sri Lanka. Some of my male friends have told me that I’m overreacting and harassment isn’t as bad as I make it out to be. They went on to say that a whistle or a remark from a male is a sign of “masculinity”. I completely disagree with this. Masculinity isn’t making degrading comments to women: it’s quite the opposite. I believe it’s a cowardly act. As a regular user of public transport I have been told some of the worst things one can ever imagine,” she said with a sense of frustration. “It’s almost impossible to find a female in Sri Lanka who hasn’t been harassed at least once in her life. I wanted to raise awareness on this, so that people will be more motivated to stand up to their harassers or for victims of harassment,” she said. “Yes, we are definitely going to continue this and I know I’m not alone in this.
I have a very loyal and strong group of ‘admins’, both male and female who are so supportive.
“It’s obviously not going to happen overnight, and we know this is going to take a few years at least, but we don’t plan on giving up any time soon.
Asked about the feedback they have received over the last few days, she said it was positive.
“We receive so many messages and comments telling us how they were not aware street harassment in Sri Lanka was so bad and that they are now motivated to stand up for themselves or others who are being harassed. However as with everything, we have critics who think we’re being sexist (which we are not) and that this is a mere Face book campaign which will not cause an impact on society. We are in the process of training people how to deal with street harassment,” she said.