Did you know that there are several types of street harassment that are illegal in America? Common forms of street harassment include following, flashing, groping, catcalls, leering, obscene comments, and repeated requests for your name or number despite clearly saying no. In fact, if you are illegally harassed on the street, you can report this harassment to law enforcement. Statistics show that millions of people worldwide—particularly women and girls —experience sexual harassment in public spaces.
While street harassment happens more often in cities like Las Vegas, it also is commonplace in rural and suburban areas. In the context of this piece, street harassment refers only to interactions between strangers, whether of the same or the opposite sex.
There are presently at least nine laws in Nevada that prohibit some form of verbal street harassment. For example, Nevada law prohibits anyone from using profane, offensive, or indecent language. It is also illegal to engage in any quarrel in a public conveyance or interfere with or annoy any passenger in a public conveyance. If someone is harassing you or using inappropriate language on a bus, railroad, or any other conveyance that is open to the public, you can report that behavior.
It is also illegal in Nevada to make any open and indecent or obscene exposure of your person or of the person of another. Nevada has laws on the books prohibiting stalking, groping, and “upskirting.” If street harassment is committed because of the victim’s actual or perceived color, religion, race, national origin, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability, the act is considered a hate crime.
What to do?
If you or someone you know has been the victim of Nevada street harassment, you should call law enforcement if the crime is still in progress or you or someone else has been threatened with physical violence or has been physically harmed.
When you report the crime, you should provide the following:
When (date and time) the harassment happened;
Where (detailed location) the harassment happened;
A thorough description of what happened;
If any witnesses, their names and contact information;
If you know it, the law that was violated; and
A description of the harassers.
Some police departments allow people to anonymously report harassment if you are the witness to an incident. It is important to remember that you have the right to be free from street harassment and assault in public.
Legal Help in Nevada
There are both criminal and civil consequences for those who illegally harass others. If you or someone you know thinks that he or she may have been a victim of illegal street harassment in Nevada, contact local law enforcement first. Then, reach out to the seasoned attorneys at Parry & Pfau. They will fight for your rights under the law and get you the compensation you deserve.
(image courtesy of Timon Studler)