Street harassment happens most often when other people are around the target*.

In 50% of cases, no witnesses offered to help the target**.

If you witness street harassment, take action. It will make all the difference to the person being targeted.

Before doing anything, assess the situation and make sure that you feel safe to act. Take action in whatever way you feel comfortable.

Provide a distraction

Use distraction to defuse the situation and prevent it from escalating. This can give the target a chance to get away.

You can ask the target for the time or act like you know them.

Work with another witness 

If you feel that you cannot do something alone, ask someone nearby to help you.

You can suggest that the person next to you switch seats with the target or ask a passerby to help you.

Get help on site  

Need an extra hand? Ask staff, a security guard or a police officer on site to intervene.

In the métro network, you can use the intercoms on trains and the assistance stations (red phones) on platforms to call for help.

Document the situation

While the harassment is happening, note any information that might be useful in case the target decides to report the incident.  

Write down the date, time, location, etc. If you take any photos or record the incident on video, always offer this evidence to the target and never post it on social media without their consent.

Support the target

Sometimes, street harassment happens so fast that there isn’t much time to react. You can still play an important role after the fact.

Staying with the target and offering reassurance or help afterwards can have a big impact on the target’s overall experience of the incident. You can also offer to call a loved one or accompany the target somewhere.

 * Condon, Lieber et Maillochon (2005) Back to the source #1

** “Rapport de recherche sur le harcèlement de rue à Montréal.” UQAM/CÉAF. Courcy, Isabelle, Lavoie Mongrain, Catherine, Blais, Mélissa (2022). Back to the source #2