Kansas City Is Considering An Ordinance To Ban Street Harassment

Kansas City, Missouri, is considering an ordinance that would provide fines and jail time for street harassers. So Iguess I’m movin’ to Kansas City! I have family there, it’ll be all good.

Various other cities in Missouri (of all places), including Columbia and St. Louis, have put together bans on public harassment similar to this ordinance. They point out that in the years since these anti-harassment laws have been in effect, they’ve never issued a citation for it, because it’s hard to enforce the laws without an officer witnessing the harassment. Kansas City’s solution to this problem is to find out where harassment happens the most, and increase police presence in those areas.

And yeah, it sucks that we have to enforce decency via the police. The Kansas City government considers it a public health issue: They’re trying to encourage citizens to bike and walk more often to combat obesity, and they can’t expect people to want to do that if every time they’re biking or walking they have to anticipate harassment. Which, I don’t know. Harassment is harassment, I don’t know if it should be tied into the issue of bodily fitness in order for it to be relevant. But the more strides we can make in order to change the way our culture thinks about how people communicate with strangers — and strange women particularly — the better. [Kansas City Star]