Ban street sex harassment, says Amsterdam aldermen

The Amsterdam college of mayor and aldermen wants to change the General Local Regulation in Amsterdam to make sexual harassment on the street punishable in the city. The college sent a proposal to the council with a set of measures to "make clear that Amsterdam does not tolerate (sexual) harassment on the street", Het Parool reports.

The proposal contains "soft" measures, such as spreading information about it in schools. The college also wants to add the following text to the General Local Regulation: "It is forbidden on the road or in a public accessible building in groups or separately to bother others buy jeering or offensive language, gestures, noises or behavior."

According to the newspaper, these words define street harassment as something that does not only affect the victims, but also the people around them. This makes it possible to act against it even if the victim decides not to press charges. 

The mayor and aldermen also stressed, however, that enforcement might be "problematic" because perpetrators will basically have to be caught in the act. Amsterdam is therefore considering implementing anonymous surveillance along with the measures. 

A recent study by the statistical service of the Amsterdam municipality revealed that over half of Amsterdam women were harassed on the street at least once over hte past year. Among women between the ages of 15 and 34, even 80 percent faced harassment.