The Insidious, Intractable Problem of Street Harassment

Geplaatst op 24-04-2024

Categorie: Lifestyle

Street harassment of women is ubiquitous. It never stops and no one is ever immune. God help me, yesterday I got harassed at Costco by a guy half my age while looking at car mats!

“Baby, I’ma take you on a nice ride.”

Obviously, the only conceivable motive was to make me feel uncomfortable. And it worked – I was in a remote corner of the store and I felt scared. I fled without picking up the item I needed.

The defense that this is a form of compliment is totally bogus – the guy wore a smirk and clearly enjoyed my discomfort. It’s a form of bullying.


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This short documentary on street harassment features a former Miss District of Columbia and is worth a watch.

A recent study on street harassment found the following:

  1. 65% of women reported experiencing harassment on the street.
  2. More than half were verbally harassed.
  3. 41% were the target of public physical aggression.
  4. 23% of women experienced nonconsensual sexual touching!
  5. 20% have been followed.
  6. 14% have been flashed.
  7. 9% had been forced to do “something sexual.”

In my lifetime, I’ve been verbally harassed countless times, humped from behind on the Paris metro, had my breast grabbed by a drunk guy in a bar, flashed three times, including by a man masturbating, followed home twice. And this doesn’t even count harassment from men I knew.

One artist has begun a street art project to educate men about what women don’t want to hear.

Mens Rights Activists are speaking out.  (H/T David Futrelle) Not against harassment, oh no, that is fully justified!

While a vanishing minority may truly have been confident about their romantic prospects with you, there’s no doubt that most knew that they didn’t stand a chance in hell. Yet, there you sauntered, dressed as sexily as you could, meticulously made up, flaunting that fact; Rubbing it in their faces that they would never have a chance at catching the eye of such a beauty, much less to speak with you, so much less to touch you.

…Everything you do is seems to be to attract a man, yet when a man presumes to express that attraction, you’re offended to the core, and you demand that the rest of us be as well.
…You are one of the most privileged people on Earth, and you dare to complain that some men don’t know their place, and won’t suffer your insults in silence.

…you have the gall to be offended that lower-status males might dare to approach you. Furthermore, your constant antagonism of their attraction to you gives them reason to resent you.
Apparently, the sight of a woman’s legs is an invitation to rudeness? Do these MRAs ever go to the beach? Or a gym? Guess not.

One common form of street harassment is telling women to smile. Regardless of what we’re feeling or thinking about at the moment, we’re expecting to adorn public spaces with compliant smiles.
“I love getting coached to smile more by strange men.” SAID NO WOMAN EVER

As always, a little humor helps to dispel the angst:

One common approach women use is to seek alternate routes away from harassment “hot spots.” A smartphone app called Hollaback maps reports of harassment online to help women identify these areas. Not sure how useful this is though. It looks like women can’t go anywhere in Manhattan in peace.
How do you handle it when this happens to you?
What does it make you feel?
How can we get men to stop this behavior?