A VisitPhilly.com billboard prominantly displayed on Broad Street in the center of the city promotes street harassment in a large, unavoidable, unmistakeable way, and on an advertisement meant to define and promote Philadelphia to tourists. This fails our entire city, not just the women and LGBTQ community members who are harassed on the streets in alarming numbers every day. VisitPhilly.com can do better than that - and Philadelphia deserves better.
The "VisitPhilly.com" campaign, run by GPMTC to promote tourism to Philadelphia, states that it is working to make Philadelphia "a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region’s vitality." Having taken on this mission of revitalizing Philadelphia's image, they dropped the ball with their billboard on Broad Street (the main street running North-South through the city, straight through City Hall).
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, street harassment is the most pervasive form of gender-based sexual violence in the United States. Street harassment limits mobility of women and LGBTQ individuals and denies them the basic human right of feeling safe on public streets. Sexual harassment is a gateway crime that creates a cultural environment that makes gender-based violence okay. A clear legal framework exists to reproach sexual harassment and abuse in the home and at work, but when it comes to the streets - people seem to think all bets are off.
We called GPMTC and asked them to replace this billboard with one that deters street harassment, but they refused. Please join us in demanding VisitPhilly.com place an equally prominent advertisement reflecting the true worth of our city and its citizens, and those who wish to visit Philadelphia. Sign this petition asking that they place a billboard telling all those who "walk this way" that they are deserving of safety and respect on our streets; that Philadelphia is a city where street harassment has no place.