50 Shades of Street Harassment
July 16, 2014 8:51 PM Subscribe
My question is primarily about how best to deal with street harassment with the caveat that just ignoring it is not
my preferable solution.
posted by frizzle to Human Relations (52 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
I've been "just ignoring it" for years now, and it's making me an increasingly bitter, angry person. When someone yells at me, "Hey cutie, like that booty!" and I continue to walk down the street, I spend the rest of my day feeling awful for having let someone else speak to me in that way without standing up for myself.
I've been having this internal debate for quite awhile, trying to figure out the best way to respond to people on the street making inappropriate comments about my body. This happens at least once a week, usually more often. Today was the first time that I actually spoke back to the person, and it escalated in a way that worried me. I was waiting for my train when a man came up to me, looked me up and down, and said, "I want you to know I think you're very sexy." I looked back at him and said, "I didn't ask for your opinion." I then stood up and got onto my train. He started banging on the train doors, screaming that he'd find me and make me suck his dick.
This was in broad daylight with close to a hundred onlookers. I'm afraid to think what could have happened under different circumstances.
So, boiled down to the essentials, my question is this: Is there a way to respond to street harassment (other than just ignoring it) that doesn't put me at increased risk of physical violence? If not, and if ignoring it is really my only safe option, how can I keep this from gnawing away at me and making me feel so helpless and demeaned?
BONUS QUESTION: I work at a courthouse, and hear this sort of stuff all the time from people in the hallways as I'm working. Are the rules different while I'm at work in terms of how best to respond? It makes me doubly frustrated feeling like I can't even DO MY JOB without being openly and aggressively objectified, and feeling like I can't do anything about it.