Street harassment is nothing new, though to talk to many folks, you wouldn't know it. Student publications about harassment can date back to the 1980s, and one from Brian Martin in 1997
offers a great guide (much like our own
) about how men can stop harassment.
Three main types of public harassment are comments, touching and trailing. These may not seem to be a big problem, but they can be quite upsetting. Few men realise how big the problem is, because they are seldom the target of harassment themselves. Even men who are opposed to harassment may not think there's anything to get concerned about. But there is.
We also like this Salon.com article from 1999
(via Feminist Law Professors
), detailing historical problems with street harassment, public space, assumptions about gender, and clothing as unintentional communication.
Why do they do it? We're not talking about gallantry, or playful flirting or simple, unfrightened compliments. Why the abuse, the privacy invasion, the intimidation? Why do the construction workers on my block, for instance, make sudden loud noises with their machinery as I pass so they can laugh when I jump? I don't ask them. I'm afraid of escalation.
We don't know, and we don't often ask because we're afraid, too.
Labels: public space, safety, street harassment, women