The Struggle Against Street Harassment in perú: New Media, Youth Feminism and International Political Advocacy

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 16:00
Location: Hörsaal 33 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Elizabeth VALLEJO, Pontifica Universidad Catolica del Peru, Peru
Paremos el Acoso Callejero –PAC (Let’s stop street harassment) is a citizens' initiative created in 2012 in order to analyze and make visible the structures behind everyday violence towards women in Perú, such as catcalling and other forms of sexual harassment. This initiative started in Facebook and Twitter, and it also used DATEA, a platform that allows women to geo-reference their experiences. Even though PAC started in social media, it has had major impact in mass media in Latin America and it had influenced other initiatives in the region.

The PAC initiative has also got the involvement and cooperation of public bodies, including the Peruvian parliament. As part of the initiative, a national survey was conducted. The results were the main input for the making of the anti-harassment law that was discussed and approved in the Peruvian Parliament this year (2015).  Peru has now the only anti-street harassment law in Latin America, a law that focuses on preventing the problem (the penalty section was not approved).   

This presentation will explore the strategy and discourse of this feminist initiative and it will analyze the interaction between new media, mass media, supporters and policymakers to the achievement of the anti-harassment law. It will also discuss the reasons of broaden public support. Even though it was presented as a feminist initiative addressing a human rights issue, I think many people supported it because they understood it as a way to protect the honour and dignity of women. Peru is still a very conservative Catholic country and a traditional perspective on women remains. As this case shows in a paradoxical manner, sometimes behind a liberal cause a hidden a conservative support can be found.