Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Street harassment - time to deal with it

Melody Thomas has an excellent long post on Scoop about the real extent, nature and effects of what's often dismissed as completely harmless - street harassment:

"At first I couldn’t believe that such a thing could be happening all the time, and yet despite my initial instincts of disbelief it quickly became obvious that I could not discount the prevalence of sexually harassing (and often frightening) acts towards females. As the days wore on and I read more and more stories from fearful or angry women who had been followed home, ejaculated on (yes, unfortunately there are many of these), lewdly stared at or otherwise infringed upon in public – incidences where I had been harassed came tumbling back into my consciousness..."

"...what it seems to boil down to is this; sexism doesn’t just harm the targeted individual, sexism harms everyone. It harms any female witnesses. It then harms all men as a group when any victim of sexism and its witnesses experience modified emotions and motivations towards all men for some time. And the reality is that while Western women are working in traditionally ‘male’ environments (where funnily enough, incidents of sexual harassment are often at their highest) and do have choices to follow paths that differ from mother and wife and so on and so forth, over half of our population is scared to venture freely into public places."


Tui said...

Heads up, Anne, your link is broken. :)

Deborah said...

I've sneaked in and fixed it, Tui.

Anonymous said...

That was a great read.

A few years back I just accepted street harassment as something I could expect as a young women. Some people even suggested I should enjoy it! But it has always made me feel unsafe.
Ever since I had my 'click' moment that I don't have to put up with that stuff, it makes me so, so angry. I'm a runner and have been harassed a couple of times recently. Once was during the Sevens and I was advised by a male friend that it was my fault for running near the bars on the waterfront! It made me so angry that I should be expected to alter my life to 'avoid' being harassed.

Thanks for putting that link up.