There are 9 laws that prohibit verbally harassing behaviors alone. But we’re going to take them just a few at a time. Today, we’ll introduce the laws that prohibit disturbing the peace, and coercion.
Breach of Peace
Every person who shall maliciously and willfully disturb the peace or quiet of any neighborhood or person or family by loud or unusual noises, or by tumultuous and offensive conduct, threatening, traducing, quarreling, challenging to fight, or fighting, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
If someone is harassing you by using offensive language or gestures, threatening you, challenging you to fight, or generally causing a scene, then you can report that person for breaching the peace.
I was walking home after visiting a friend when two guys sprang into my way and scared me. They were yelling things like “I want to fuck you” and “You’re hot”. Fortunately it was in the near of my home so when they started to follow me I showed them my middle finger and started to walk faster. They reached me when I was opening my door and yelled “my d**k ist to hard for you”. Then I explained them that they had nothing which could impress me and I shoveled the door into their face. Nevertheless I feel scared helpless and used – See more at: http://www.ihollaback.org/blog/category/verbal/page/2/#sthash.sqfgAnk5.dpuf
Assembling to Disturb Peace or to Commit Unlawful Act
If two or more persons assemble for the purpose of disturbing the public peace, or committing any unlawful act, and do not disperse, on being desired or commanded so to do by a judge, justice of the peace, sheriff, coroner, constable or other public officer, the persons so offending are guilty of a misdemeanor
If you are being harassed by more than one person, you can ask a police officer to help you by asking your harassers to disperse.
There was an event at my work, and I was on the sidewalk of the main road, walking down and putting little lawn signs along the way. As I was walking, I heard a bunch of guys screaming out of their window, but I ignored it and didn’t bother looking over. They were on the other side of the road anyways, with a median separating both lanes of traffic. Several minutes later, they had turned at the light, and made their way into the packing lot right next to the lawns were I was putting signs. Now that I got a look at the car, there was at least three guys I could see now hanging out of their windows, screaming at me to come over to them and into into the car. I started walking quickly in the other direction while words of “sexy” and “c’mon, dance for me” where being scouted at me from the car. When I got a good distance away they started booing me and yelling insults before driving off out of the lot. – See more at: http://www.ihollaback.org/blog/category/verbal/page/2/#sthash.sqfgAnk5.dpuf
Provoking a Commission of Breach of Peace
Every person who shall by word, sign or gesture willfully provoke, or attempt to provoke, another person to commit a breach of the peace shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
This law specifically prohibits language likely to provoke a violent response from the target. Stop Street Harassment points out that, since victims of street harassment rarely respond to their harassers with violence, laws like these have rarely been used to address street harassment.
1. It is unlawful for a person, with the intent to compel another to do or abstain from doing an act which the other person has a right to do or abstain from doing, to:
(a) Use violence or inflict injury upon the other person or any of the other person’s family, or upon the other person’s property, or threaten such violence or injury;
(b) Deprive the person of any tool, implement or clothing, or hinder the person in the use thereof; or
(c) Attempt to intimidate the person by threats or force.
If a harasser threatens you with violence to get you to comply with a request, they can be reported for coercion.