Gravity's Rainbow

botany, shoes, books, and justice

Street Harrassment


Tonight is artwalk in my town and the sidewalks are full of people making their way downtown for free wine and cheese and bad Western art. I was enjoying the small town atmosphere and pleasant weather when the first guy leaned out his car window to comment on my ass. I was wondering what to make for dinner when a second guy riding his bicycle yelled ‘hey baby’ and made a gesture that left far too little to the imagination.

This is not an unusual experience for me. Street harassment is pervasive in our towns and cities.

Tonight, however, was worse than usual. The weather is warm, school is out, and everyone is heading downtown. No fewer than 7 men felt it necessary to comment on my attire and body, and/or gesture rudely and/or leer at me on the mile and half walk between my office and my house. My town is small and it is normal to smile at strangers, to say hello to people who look only a little familiar, to stop and chat with the people you know. But by the time I was a quarter mile from home, I was avoiding looking at anyone, feeling exposed and vulnerable and angry enough to shout at strangers.

I am not offended if men notice me, but there are better ways to let me know about it. Smile at me. Tell me my dress is pretty. Offer to carry my groceries. Say hello.

Trust me, shouting ‘hey baby, suck my dick’ from a car window is not an effective method for soliciting fellatio.

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  1. I’ve never been subject to it, but goddamn I hate street harassment so much.

  2. I can only apologise on behalf of all Y-bearers. All I can say is I wouldn’t miss any of them if they were to meet an, ahem, unfortunate accident. I have been insulted and threatened in the street as I look as weird as I am. I know it doesn’t help (much) to know that it is their mental problem not mine.

    Due to the necessity for variety inculcated by evolution we will probably always have dickheads as well as some secular saints. On a long ago 23rd of December I was folded up outside the radiology department waiting for an X-ray to see if my skull was intact after being savagely mugged. Three foot of hair spiked with blood and a flap of skin glued back on my forehead. Some bloke came to to stand in front of me and asked what had happened to me. I mumbled that I had been mugged. He laughed at me.

    If I could not have done what I did next I would have suffered a lot more distress than I did from that cruelty. Most women can’t reply with aggression without danger to themselves. I can’t imagine the pain of having to bottle all that up inside.

    I drew myself up to my full height, cornered him and screamed in his face that the trauma I had suffered meant that I could kill him now without any legal consequences. If his friend had not begged me to forgive him I might have gone through with it. The prat could see it in my eyes and just ran away.

  3. *hugs lots* I hate it the most when I get cornered in gas stations by sleazy guys. Keep your head up.

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