Letters To Our Brothers is an international campaign aimed at reclaiming the social domain of the streets and ending the ceaseless harassment of women found there, particularly in the Arab world. Women and girls are forced to endure catcalling, molestation and even sexual assault on a daily basis, simply because they are walking in the streets. Most often, these women feel helpless to defend themselves or to take appropriate action against their harassers because the educational, social, legal, and political infrastructure is lacking to bring them to justice.
Street harassment is a crime. It’s not a hobby, a past-time, or something to do when you’re bored. There is not a woman who deserves to be subjected to hissing, hooting, pleas for sexual favors, unwanted touching or any other form of unsolicited communication from men in the street. There is not an outfit or article of clothing on earth that can be used as justification for this crime. No woman is asking for it.
And it needs to stop.
Letters To Our Brothers aims at giving a voice to harassed women through our collective calling out. The Letters are actual notes written to male members of our family or our proverbial “brothers” at large, imploring them to understand the social and psychological consequences of street harassment. It involves photography and video campaigns to maximize social media exposure, and asks for contributions from anyone around the world interested in accomplishing the end of street harassment forever.
In the Arab World, the numbers for street harassment are staggering, ranging from 75 – 99% of women experiencing some form of street harassment daily. The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women published a report in 2013 showing that 99.3% of Egyptian women have experienced some form of sexual harassment. The study indicates that “96.5% of women in their survey said that sexual harassment came in the form of touching, which was the most common manifestation of sexual harassment. Verbal sexual harassment had the second-highest rate experienced by women with 95.5% of women reporting cases.”
And it needs to stop now.
Letters To Our Brothers was started in Mohammedia, Morocco at the American Language Center by teacher Nakita Valerio, director Steve DeRosa and the following students: Dalal, Tassnime, Nissrine, Majda, Manal, Saba and Marouane.