Do You Understand Street Harassment Now?

I’m sorry for the short post, dear readers, but I am working hard on my Kickstarter project!  I found this quote recently and I feel that it really helps to illustrate to men how it feels to be harassed on the street.

You struck a nerve with this one, as I was just discussing this very thing a few weeks ago with a group of high-school freshmen in my English class. We were discussing homosexuality because of an allusion to it in the book we were reading, and several boys made comments such as, “That’s disgusting.” We got into the debate and eventually a boy admitted that he was terrified/disgusted when he was once sharing a taxi and the other male passenger made a pass at him.

The lightbulb went off. “Oh,” I said. “I get it. See, you are afraid, because for the first time in your life you have found yourself a victim of unwanted sexual advances by someone who has the physical ability to use force against you.” The boy nodded and shuddered visibly.

“But,” I continued. “As a woman, you learn to live with that from the time you are fourteen, and it never stops. We live with that fear every day of our lives. Every man walking through the parking garage the same time you are is either just a harmless stranger or a potential rapist. Every time.”

The girls in the room nodded, agreeing. The boys seemed genuinely shocked.

“So think about that the next time you hit on a girl. Maybe, like you in the taxi, she doesn’t actually want you to.”

Give me your thoughts, readers.  Does this sound correct to you?

Posted on May 30, 2012, in Feminism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I’ve been trying to explain this to two guys in my Japanese class for weeks now. I might forward this on to them next time they start calling the poor Russian girl they’ve been hitting on for fucking weeks an ‘uptight bitch’ because she avoids them. It’s just so accurate.

  2. Nice one! Spot on!

  3. truly spot on!

  4. That will be some day when men understand this concept. Add to that scenario a young woman who has been mugged or raped. She will be fearful all her life. It’s one thing to get a smile or a wink in daylight or at the grocery store…another to get ‘cat calls” or to be harassed. Men do not understand the carry over to dark places where we all must walk from time to time…streets to and from restaurants, parking lots, etc. Why is this topic not taught in elementary schools?

  5. Jemand mit einem Computer

    I’m not sure I agree with that.

    As a man whenever I am hit on by another man, be he larger and not nearly as intoxicated as I, always take it in stride and talk to the man. In fact many times have I spent long hours into the morning with men and kept it strictly platonic. Even recently I spent the night with a homosexual in his apartment in Santiago, a city I have rarely been in, and kept it strictly platonic after his many attempts.

    That being said I take my same feelings and project them onto women I hit on. I don’t want her to think that I’d rape because I’m being friendly and flirtatous. If she rejects my actions then I just quit and go on my way.

    Therefore I don’t think it’s reasonable to hold the belief that I should not hit on women because they might feel threatened.

    Pax,
    Someone else on the internet

    • “I don’t think it’s reasonable to hold the belief that I should not hit on women because they might feel threatened.”

      Right, except that’s not what she’s saying.

      She isn’t saying “You shouldn’t hit on women.” She’s saying “When you do hit on women, be receptive to the idea that your actions may be unwanted.”

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