Monday, August 11, 2008

Locally and Abroad...

Street harassment is not funny, it's not flattering, and it should be publicly acknowledged for what it is - making women and other minority groups feel like shit. Harassers do it because they believe that their victims won't speak up or resist....I have found that one of the best things you can do is publicly, loudly call them out on their behavior. I have been harassed on various occasions in Storrs, CT, even in broad daylight, by guys shouting things from their cars or walking by. It is frightening and humiliating, and it makes me angry as hell. About two weeks ago I was walking across campus and crossed a main road at 9 a.m., only to have some guy drive behind me and yell at me to turn around. I honestly was so shocked the only thing I could do was ignore him and keep walking. In retrospect, I wish I had given him the middle finger but it just didn't occur to me at the time.

I have also experienced street harassment in Europe. In London this summer my friend and I were approached in a public park where we were sitting on the grass, eating dinner, by two teenage guys who said "hey sexy" etc. We rolled our eyes and left the park, only to have them follow us for blocks. As we were familiar with the area and
were on a crowded street around dinnertime I just thought their behavior was annoying but then they continued to stalk us for about 20 minutes. My friend and I began to get frightened and ran into a pub to use the bathroom and avoid them. When we left the pub they were waiting outside for this point I was so fed up with their
crass remarks and disgusting behavior that I got in one guy's face and started screaming at him to leave us the f*** alone. The guy looked embarrassed at me making a scene and he and his friend walked away laughing. My friend and I were so shaken up about it, we mistakenly thought that because we were in a public place, we were minding our own business, and we weren't dressed provocatively, that we wouldn't
be a target. THIS IS NOT TRUE. You can't prevent yourself from street harassment - it can happen anytime, anywhere, and honestly why should you have to change your behavior to avoid assholes like this in the first place??

Thank you for drawing attention to this...people need to understand that it happens all the time.