On November 8th, Wonda Women organised a workshop on becoming an active bystander of street harassment. The workshop was given by Fairspace, an organisation that works to build safe and inclusive spaces for all by transforming the culture that perpetuates sexual discrimination and violence. We met at Flink and the workshop took place in their beautiful Yoga studio.
Before starting the workshop, Wonda Women gave a short introduction on why we wanted to organise this workshop. Street harassment is an issue for everyone, however it is most typically gender-based violence and characterises the experience of womxn. Those who experience it the worst are those from marginalised groups. This is the reason why we reached out to Fairspace. They are a solution-driven organisation that can give us tangible tools to really empower ourselves instead of relying on others.
During the workshop, Fairpace created a warm and open environment that everyone contributed to; it was a safer space where we shared personal stories and incidents with each other.
We would like to share the following insights with everybody;
● Street harassment can occur everywhere and in varying degrees. It is a deeply personal experience for everyone, and how we experience it depends on our biography and our position at different intersects.
● Bystander intervention is such an important topic since, when being harassed, it is very common that the victim freezes in that particular moment; it’s much more helpful if the harassed person knows that someone else is there who assures them that what just happened is not okay!
● Fairspace talked to us about the Four D’s Bystander tips: Delay, Distract, Direct and Delegate. In short, those four D’s mean: Delay: This takes place after the incident, and essentially you check in with the person being harassed. Ask them if they’re okay and if there is any way you can support them. Distract: Take an indirect approach to de-escalate the situation. This could be something simple like asking for directions, asking the time, or pretending that you know the victim. Talk to them about something random and take the attention off the harasser. Direct: Confront the situation. When doing so, be firm, clear and concise. In this case, it’s really important that you feel safe before doing this! Delegate: Ask for help from a third party, for example the police or a bus driver witnessing the event.
● It’s important to remember that Bystander Intervention can vary from day to day. On some days, you feel stronger and are ready to direct the harasser, on other days you might just want to check in afterwards. Do whatever feels right to you in that moment and always think about your own safety as well!
All in all, the workshop was very informative and inspirational. A big Thank-You to all those participating and Martina and Laura from Fairspace who gave the workshop!