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San Francisco Tenderloin Women Say “No!” to Street Harassment: Safe Passage Sponsors Kidpower Adult Safety Skills Workshops and Resources

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) May 23, 2013

Combating street harassment is the newest community safety outreach program being tackled by the Safe Passage Committee in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, which sponsored its second Fullpower personal safety workshop for women on Monday from Kidpower, a leading nonprofit that develops and teaches personal safety skills programs for people of all ages.

"Women in our community have been telling us their experiences with street harassment for years,” said Dina Hilliard, Executive Director of North of Market/Tenderloin Community Benefit District. “Then a few months ago, a woman in our neighborhood was stabbed after rebutting a man's sexual harassment comments and we knew it was time to take action.”

“We decided to invite Kidpower to help us customize a training for the women of our community on how to deal with street harassment," said Hilliard. She added that more than 25 women have participated in the workshops so far, in February and this past Monday, May 20.

“Every woman in the room had experienced some form of street harassment, even on a regular basis,” said Kate Robinson, Family Services Supervisor for Chinatown Community Development Center. “The classes were very diverse, including staff members, Black and Latina women, and several Muslim women who experience harassment for the clothes they wear – and we all came together through shared experiences. One woman expressed that she has never used her voice to feel safe but now she feels she that her voice has power!”

Teaching the recent Street Harassment workshops for women in the Tenderloin also inspired author and Kidpower founder, Irene van der Zande, to publish two new articles with examples from many years of her own and students’ stories of dealing with street harassment and aggressive panhandling with tips for how to handle these situations powerfully and safely. Both articles are currently available on the Free Library:

“Street harassment is not new - and happens to many women across a wide diversity of communities and cultures,” said van der Zande. “As part of our partnership with the Safe Passage Committee, we are pleased to offer customized workshops on handling street harassment, with the class and materials translated into Arabic. Our plan is to work with Safe Passage in the Tenderloin to find funding for ongoing workshops so we can help as many people as possible in this high-crime neighborhood.”

“The Kidpower Street Harassment training had all the right elements to equip and empower the women of our community to address street harassment in a way that would not compromise their personal safety,” said Hilliard. “The training included raw and real scenarios that allowed the women to practice their responses to street harassment. It was the first time the subject of street harassment was openly discussed by the women in our community, and having a safe place to discuss their experiences was extremely valuable."

“As with any personal safety issue, knowing the words to say and the actions to take can make a huge difference in what happens,” said van der Zande. She said students in the workshops practiced simple skills, including:

  • Making a plan before leaving home to not give up personal space to give money to panhandlers or to accept unasked-for help from strangers — and explaining to children that they will help people in other ways.
  • Splitting her attention between what she is doing and what is happening around her.
  • Moving away from potential problems.
  • Projecting an assertive attitude while leaving.
  • Firmly saying, "Sorry, no!" to a panhandler.
  • Firmly saying, "No, thank you!" to someone who is trying to “help” her or her children.
  • Firmly saying, 'STOP!" to someone who has become intrusive.
  • Confidently and clearly interrupting a busy person and saying, "I need help!"
  • Yelling to stop an attack - and to get help.
  • Deciding to Put Safety First- ahead of embarrassment, inconvenience, or offense.

“We plan to continue to work with Kidpower to provide important safety tools to this community,” said Robinson. “Our neighborhood grows stronger and becomes safer after each one of these trainings.”

About Kidpower:

Kidpower is a non-profit leader in personal safety and confidence-building skills education, whose programs are highly recommended by experts worldwide for taking a positive, skills-based approach to preventing abuse, kidnapping, bullying and other violence. Kidpower workshops, K-12 safety curriculum, books, videos, and the free resource library have helped to protect more than 2 million people, including those with special needs, from abuse, bullying and other violence since 1989. Kidpower's founder and executive director, Irene van der Zande, has been featured as a personal safety expert by USA Today, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults, a comprehensive guide for understanding personal safety, self-protection, confidence, and advocacy for young people; Bullying: What adults need to know and do to keep kids safe; and the Kidpower Safety Comic Series, which many schools use in their child abuse and violence prevention training programs.

Media contact: email, media(at)kidpower(dot)org for more information or to request an interview.

About Safe Passage:

The Safe Passage Committee formed in 2008 in response neighborhood parent concerns for youth safety. With three community groups starting the project, the project has grown to include over 25 entities representing neighborhood organizations, local businesses, and city departments. Safe Passage is comprised of two elements – a mural on the sidewalk that visually designates a safe route for youth, and Corner Captains volunteering as stationed monitors to ensure that the route is indeed safe for youth.

To contact the Safe Passage Committee, e-mail, info(at)tenderloinsafepassage(dot)com, call 415-779-4102; or learn more at

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