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Street Harassment and the Informal Ghettoization of Women

Cynthia Grant Bowman
Harvard Law Review
Vol. 106, No. 3 (Jan., 1993), pp. 517-580
DOI: 10.2307/1341656
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1341656
Page Count: 64
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Street Harassment and the Informal Ghettoization of Women
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Abstract

The law often overlooks harms to women. One such harm is the harassment that women face when they travel along city streets and appear in other public places. This street harassment can have profound effects on women's full participation in the public sphere. In this Article, Professor Bowman calls attention to these harms and proposes potential legal remedies for the harassment of women on the public streets. She begins by describing what street harassment involves and whom it affects and then discusses the legally cognizable harms to women and society. Next, she evaluates the criminal and civil laws that might be used to target harassment and describes their failings. Finally, she proposes new methods to stop street harassment and open the public sphere to women. Although Professor Bowman admits that her solutions are not foolproof (and may face severe constitutional attacks), she emphasizes that for the law to recognize the substantial burdens that street harassment places on women's liberty, equality, and sense of self-dignity is a first step toward a solution.

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