But it happens on the street.
A few days ago, I started noticing that more and more men were making more comments to me while walking down the street. Most of the time it is a friendly compliment like “hello beautiful” to which I reply “thanks” and I keep on going. Now that the weather is warm and people are shedding their coats it has gotten worse for me. Approximately two weeks ago, after work, I was walking into Walgreens passing a man who I generally see every day. I acknowledged his presence with a respectful hello and walked in to the store. When leaving the store the man looked at me along with another gentleman and the man said, “f@#k her, she only f@#k’s with white boys any way”. I took the usual tack and walked away said nothing.
Last week, another incident occurred when again I was walking towards Walgreens. A man rather loudly to his friends said, “I wish I could take that ass home every night.” He like his friends began to laugh. They thought I was a joke. I again took the usual tack and said nothing.
Last Friday, on my way home from work I was standing at the bus stop when man in a pickup truck with a confederate decal felt like he had the right to ask me if “it must be a hard time for yall working girls, aint it, aint it?” Even though I was angry I maintained my dignity by not acknowledging his presence. So once again I said nothing.
Yesterday, I was walking on Main Street again and a man was looking at my behind. I turned around and looked at him the way he looked at me. The man was stunned. I was fed up and the man walked away embarrassed.
These incidents occur in the lives of many girls and women daily. Like many others, this has been happening to me since I was a young girl. It is so bad that even today I dread walking past crowd of men. I am sickened at the thought of walking past the park everyday to my bus stop. To avoid it, I thought about walking about five minutes away towards another bus stop. I questioned myself and asked why do people degrade someone in public they do not know? It was never my attire. If you know me, you know that I am very conservative in my choice of clothing. I figured out that women could walk around in bags and these men still would say something disgusting. On the way to work I had to ask myself why should I adjust my life for these people. I decided I will not.
People have a right to say as they will. But I do have a right to walk down the street without fear of harassment or embarrassment. Some may see me as just a piece of ass but I know I am highly intelligent well-rounded woman. I, like all women, are more than breast and ass. I am a woman with a soul. I am a woman that listens to Bach and Jay-Z. I can see the beauty of art and music from the Baroque period and enjoy the detail and modernism of street art. I am more than a piece of ass. I am a friend, sister, a cousin, and a daughter. I am a human being. Imagine if I was your cousin, sister, your wife or your mother. How would you feel if some man off the street said that to them? I am fed up and angry. I want to stand up to people so they will not do this to other women but I am afraid of the repercussions because they street harassers tend to be violent individuals.
The law says:
Serial acts of public lewdness. A person is guilty of serial acts of public lewdness when two or more times within any three-year period he or she intentionally exposes the private or intimate parts of his or her body in a lewd manner or commits any other lewd act (a) in a public place, or (b) in private premises under circumstances in which he or she may readily be observed from either a public place or from other private premises, and with intent that he or she be so observed. A person who commits serial acts of public lewdness shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor”
In my humble opinion, street harassment is nothing more than an act of power. It is a sign of a weak victimizer attempting take power away from the victim. If a person is attracted to another human being how about trying to be kind? Has anyone ever heard of the saying, "you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar".
In a article called Understanding Street Harassment by Amy Scotfield it stated that,
“typical harassment experiences were found to occur between 12 pm and 6 pm, while on the street, at a construction site or in a parking lot. "This makes sense and fits the model because it's when people are out in the world and active, The consequences of such incidents include "increased self objectification, restriction of movement and fear of rape."
UNDERSTANDING THE DARKER SIDE OF STREET HARRASMENT
Women Savagely Beaten After Rejecting Come-On
After two young women refused a Brooklyn man's advances during a late night pizza stop last month, the failed pick-up turned into a violent assault, leaving one women with a fractured jaw and another nearly blinded.
…at 3:50 a.m. at John & Tony's Pizzeria on First Avenue at 60th Street on March 20th, when they were approached by 31-year-old Dzemal Kolenovic. Christine (pictured) says that after she responded to his advances by asking him to leave her alone, he became abusive, yelling, "F- - - you, bitches. You whores."
And when they stepped outside, Kolenovic was waiting, and allegedly threw Christine to the sidewalk. She says, "I asked him, 'Why are you doing this?' and he said, 'Because I'm Albanian, I can do whatever the f- - - I want.' " Her friend tried to dial 911 on her cellphone, but Kolenovic smacked it out of her hands and fractured her jaw, according to police. He then continued beating Christine, who recalls that "first he punched me once in the right eye and then he got really wound up and hit my left eye.”
Van crashes in Midtown; kills pregnant woman driver allegedly attempted to flirt with
A 29-year-old pregnant woman was killed Friday in Manhattan when a van driver who was catcalling her and a co-worker lost control and plowed into them, police sources and witnesses said.
Cops arrested Keston Brown, 27, of the Bronx, and charged him with driving while intoxicated and possession of marijuana.
Sources said Brown, who has prior arrests, was flirting with the women while driving by them. When they spurned him, he lost his temper - and control of the van, they said.
Women Strike Back Online Against Street Harassment
NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)--On a cold day in February, Emily May, a 25-year-old employee for a low-income housing and employment nonprofit in New York, bundled up and left work.
As she turned onto Broadway, the main north-south thoroughfare in Manhattan, two men heading toward her interrupted her thoughts. One tapped his friend and gave May a long look up and down.
"Yo baby, you're gorgeous!" the man said to her.
"I wanna hit that!"
May whipped out her camera phone.
"Sir, can I take your picture?"
"Why do you want to take my picture?"
"Because I'm taking pictures of everyone who thinks I'm pretty today."
What the men did not know was that May is part of a growing movement of women around the country and the globe turning the table on harassers.
Women Strike Back Online Against Street Harassment
Here are some stories from Tolerance.org
When I was 13 years old, I was walking down a heavily trafficked street in my hometown. It was a spring day -- and I remember I had just washed my hair, so it was damp. I had on white Keds, white shorts, and a pink sleeveless top. I don't remember where I was headed, but I do remember the heckle that came from a much older man in a car. It seemed innocent enough: "Hey, white shorts!" Whistle ...
I was surprised -- it hadn't ever happened to me before, a man "noticing" me in public. But, I also felt sexualized in an uncomfortable way. I felt dirty. I felt self-conscious as I walked back home. I walked clunkily -- not in my usual manner. I watched the street continually, hoping that the man's car wouldn't appear again.
When I got home, I went up into my room. I looked at my white shorts -- after all, that's what he had called me -- "Hey, white shorts!" And I saw that, from behind, you could see my panty line -- and the little blue flowers of my underwear, too. I cried.
That was the last day I ever wore white shorts -- or anything white on the bottom half of my body. It's been 17 years.
I been out with two of my friends on a Friday night in the city. We caught the night bus, and there was only us when we both stepped on. At the next stop two men got on a sat in front of us.
The first thing that one of these guys did was lean over the seat and say to us, "hey ladies what are you doing tonight." I, being very mouthy, said, "nothing with you." He then got very angry and started insulting us.
When it was revealed that we were three lesbians he suddenly changed his mind and wanted to watch us. When I corrected him and said, "unlike men we don't want to f**k every friend we have!" he very upset and he started insulting us saying it was "unnatural" and "god did not make people that way." However, five minutes before that he wanted to watch.
The bus ride ended with more insults and him spitting in our the faces. He grabbed me so hard on my wool coat and sweater covered arm that I had a huge bruise for about two weeks. Luckily my friends were there to help me.
No one regardless of his or her station in life, race, class, religion etc deserves this. Remember the old saying that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. Well I am here to say it is untrue. Words do hurt but I will not let it have power over me.