Dr Bianca Fileborn2
2University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Deidre Davis, writing on Black lesbian women’s experiences of street harassment, termed this phenomenon the ‘harm that cannot be named’. Women and LGBTQ+ communities have harnessed the veritable explosion of social media platforms as spaces for resistance and disclosure of this routine public harassment and intrusion. Online projects such as the Everyday Sexism Project and Hollaback, alongside platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, bear witness to thousands of accounts of street harassment and its harms, challenging the notion that such public encounters or entanglements are ‘minor’ or ‘trivial’. In short, such sites become a public record of or memorial to these countless ‘small’ intrusions. While the existence of such spaces may suggest that street harassment is no longer the harm that cannot be named, important questions arise regarding whose and which experiences come to be known or are ‘knowable’. In this discussion I draw on research with those who have encountered street harassment, regarding disclosure in online spaces, and I argue that the construction and remembering of street harassment through these practices can only ever occur in partial and limited ways.
Dr Bianca Fileborn is a lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, UNSW. Her work examines assemblages of space/place, identity, culture and sexual violence, and concepts of justice in relation to sexual violence. She is the author of numerous publications, including Reclaiming the Night-Time Economy: Unwanted Sexual Attention in Pubs and Clubs (2016).