STREET HARASSMENT: The Price of Being Prey
Like rush hour traffic, street harassment is something women from every walk of life grow accustomed to as they navigate sidewalks, school hallways, shopping malls or just about any other public space. [...] For many women, simply walking down a city street or past a crowd of males at a movie theater -- any time of year -- can lead to a barrage of unwanted and humiliating sexual remarks.
When Street Harassment Gets Nasty
Men like my boyfriend, who would never hoot and holler at a woman, just don't realize the continual mental bracing women have to do when passing such a group. As every woman knows, the calls, whistles, whines, and aggressive pantomimes will begin no matter her manner or how she is dressed (I was clad in baggy sweatpants). Through it all, women are supposed to pretend we are impervious. We walk past like princesses, head held high, as if not hearing the words at all -- "cunt," "slash," "ass." The fact that a scene like this can happen at least once a day to any woman who uses public transportation, or walks anywhere, is something, I tell myself, that some men just don't know.
Men: Help stop public harassment
Expectations for public behaviour vary from place to place and situation to situation. In an Australian city, two strangers walking down the street towards each other may not look at each other at all. If they do, a common pattern is to look at the other person while at a distance, drop one's eyes when closer, and look into the distance when passing by. In a country town, this might be considered unfriendly.
If only someone had told me about all this when I was thirteen.