What is Street Harassment? It is unwelcome harassment of a sexual nature, or based upon the receiving party’s sex or gender. But it happens on the street.

Well we all know summer is near and with summer for women comes  street harassment. You know the ignorant ass comments from the guy that even dope head Brenda would turn down. Sigh, they always seem to visually undress you because their right hand and a Pinky video couldn’t do the job. I always seem to get it from the same guy.  Yes, for me it is mostly Black men. That’s due to access and the demographics of my neighborhood. It could be different for you. These men are jerks that have not been taught decency or respect. They view women as objects to be used and they hate women.

I have heard and gotten it all. I have almost been followed home. Yes, creepy stalker guy almost followed me home. To make a long story very short, while walking home from the bus stop I noticed someone walking behind me. I crossed the street and then he crossed the street. I saw another gentleman and told him what was happening. He told me to stay with him. The crazy thing was that creepy stalker guy stayed there and watched me for twenty minutes until he decided to leave. I walked around my block twice to make sure he did not follow me. Please do not tell me I shouldn’t have walked home from work.

Another guy masturbated at the bus stop where I stood.  Another man decided he wanted to show me his ass. I caught the tail end of it. Yes, pun intended.

A few days ago, I noticed 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. Approximately two weeks ago, after work, I went into Walgreens. I passed a man who I saw every day. I acknowledged his presence with a respectful hello and walked in to the store. When I exited the store, the man with a male acquaintance looked at me  and  said, “[email protected]#k her, she only [email protected]#k’s with white boys any way.” I took the usual tact and walked away said nothing.

Last week, another incident occurred when again I went towards Walgreens. A man yelled to his friends said, “I wish I could take that ass home every night.” He, along with his friends began to laugh. They thought I was a joke. I again took the usual tact and said nothing.

During the same week one  guy said  he wanted to “f*** the s*** out to me,”  in front of all of his co-workers. Again, I  said nothing.

Last Friday, on my way home from work I stood 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 y’all working girls, aint it, aint it?”  Although, I was angry I maintained my dignity by ignoring him. So once again, I said nothing.

It happened again. While walking on Main Street again, I caught a man 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 harassment started when I was a girl. It is so bad that today I dread walking past a 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 dress very conservatively. I figured out that women could walk around in bags and these men still would say something disgusting. On the way to work, I asked myself why should I adjust my life for these people. I decided I won’t.

People have a right to say as they will. But don’t I have a right to walk down the street without fear of harassment or embarrassment?  YES I do. 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 Janis Joplin. I can see the beauty of art and music from the Baroque period and enjoy the detail and modernism of street art. I am multilingual if you include English, Spanglish, and Ebonics!

I am more than a piece of ass.

I am a friend, sister, an aunt, daughter and a mother. 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 people.

So what can we do? In 2008, New York City made Street Harassment a crime. 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”
Administrative Code of the City of New York, in relation to serial acts of public lewdness

I say pressure other cities to take action too.

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 an 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 Street Harassment

Street Harassment in the News
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.”
Women Savagely Beaten After Rejecting Come-On

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.”
Van crashes in Midtown; kills pregnant woman driver allegedly attempted to flirt with

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.
It didn’t.
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.
J.H., Texas

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.

Street Harassment
Holla Back

Sexual Harassment in Egypt
Washington City Paper: Street Harassment
Rachel Feinstein On The Street for Offensive Women

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.

Again, because some of us live in a free country we should be able to walk around without impediments. But the reality is that is not the case. Some desperate folks feel that just because they have a penis they are entitled to your attention even if it is negative attention. Here are some of my summer time tips for dealing with street harassment:

  • Verbal Jujitsu!!: No thank you, I am married ((LIE SISTER LIE. Even if it not true)) and if they don’t care ask them”how would you feel if someone said that they didn’t care to the woman you love. ” If they ask about the ring tell them you lost weight.
  • The Ego Stroke: “Thank you for the compliment but no thanks.” (((LIE SISTER LIE)) Some of these jerks are quick to abuse a woman who they think is rejecting them.
  • Be a headphone master. Put the head phones on and pretend to zone them out. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings. When in doubt: Ignore. Most of the time the harassers will leave you alone but there is always one so use the tips I supplied above. Usually, I keep quiet because I have no clue how these predators will react.

Street harassment is never your fault.