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Street Harassment, how do you deal?


yadz

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Philly just started a campaign fighting street harassment, called "hollaback" that basically says don't just walk on, say something. I'm not sure how I feel about this. It is one thing to call someone out in center city, its another thing in some neighborhoods or when you are out alone. On one hand I like the message it sends - Don't take crap. On the other hand it makes me worry about safety issues if the person confronted gets violent.

 

That said, a guy goes "mmhmm teach me how to workout!" on the street the other day so i told him to get some running shoes and keep up.

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Human Adventurer

Str: 3 | Dex: 2 | Sta:2 | Con:3 | Wis:3 | Cha:2

I've got no strings to hold me down, to make me smile or make me frown...

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Philly just started a campaign fighting street harassment, called "hollaback" that basically says don't just walk on, say something. I'm not sure how I feel about this. It is one thing to call someone out in center city, its another thing in some neighborhoods or when you are out alone. On one hand I like the message it sends - Don't take crap. On the other hand it makes me worry about safety issues if the person confronted gets violent.

 

That said, a guy goes "mmhmm teach me how to workout!" on the street the other day so i told him to get some running shoes and keep up.

 

It's good that the city is trying to do *something* ... but putting the responsibility for stopping street harassment on women is the wrong way to go about it.  That could lead to men saying "She didn't stop me" or "I didn't know I was bothering her," which would make harassment charges less likely to stick. 

 

The awareness is good; so is the public admission that, hey, catcalling women and creeping on them is wrong.  But seriously, Philly, put the responsibility on the perpetrators, not the victims.  I'd like to see a "Don't Be A Creepy Asshole" campaign.

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Last time this happened I was out running. On a recovery period a guy asked about my sweat shirt (ROTC from an ex, kept the shirt, not the contents). I told him what it was and he goes

 

"Sorry, I couldn't read it. Your boobs are huge and bouncy." 

 

His friend just looks at him like he grew a third head and I reply

 

"I should dislocate your jaw for that, but I don't want to get blood on my sweat shirt." put my headphones back in to the sound of his friend heckling the hell out of him for being a douche and getting dissed by a girl *eyeroll* and finished my run.

 

I love this. I think you are my new hero ;)

Black Half-Hobbit Half-Human

Level 1, Rebel

 

"Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action." ~ Benjamin Disraeli

 

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I have no good advice for this, but I do want to express my total UGH for this. I hate that we have to resort to things like pretending we don't speak the language. 

 

Be safe, girl. And maybe do some boxing in your next challenge!

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Level 1 Hobbit Adventurer Looking to Become an Assassin with Some Druid and Monk capabilities

 

Current Stats: (STR) 1 || (DEX) 1 || (STA) 1 || (CON) 2 || (WIS) 4 || (CHA) 6

 

 

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I'm going to disagree with a lot of the points suggested above, well regarding headphones anyway.  While it is helpful if you want to ignore things, it does decrease your general awareness of your surroundings.  You shouldn't be paranoid about going out for a run the vast vast majority of cat callers are harmless.  But if you are in a situation where you are being followed at slow pace by a car, you don't want any distractions in the case shit hits the fan.  So while I do wear headphones myself, in this sort of situation I would rip them out and when they are in, never have them that loud that they drown out all other noise.

 

If they are asking you a specific question e.g. are you married?  Then don't answer it, this is what they want and expect.  Either ignore or if you do respond, don't answer the question.  Put them out of their comfort zone.  Give your best giant fake smile and wave is one option.

Yes, I totally agree with this.  Don't make yourself a victim by shutting down one of your primary survival senses.

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CatElf

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Yeah- it's one of those things you gotta play by year.

 

I have a problem- I have a mouth- I'd totally say something. But one day I"m sure I'll say it to the wrong person!

I'm shocked!  You "have a mouth"?  I'm new to this site (like today) and I already think this is funny!  Yes, I like sarcasm too!

CatElf

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Ugh.  I live in Latin America which is the capital of men making comments at women.  It is a national pass time. Don't engage them, it just encourages them.  As one poster said above, if you're wearing headphones, they shouldn't be loud enough that you can't hear what is going on around you.  If you feel threatened and have a phone, call the cops.  If you don't have a phone, go to a store or something.  Carrying a whistle isn't a bad idea, particularly if you are going into semi-isolated areas alone.

 

Every woman should know how to protect herself so if you haven't done it yet, take a self-defense course.  You will learn a lot you will hopefully never need to use.  But, if you do, you will be glad to have the knowledge.

 

I had a guy grab me once on the street.  I don't know if he was trying to rob me, cop a feel or do something more dastardly, but having the skills to leave him a broken-nosed, bloody, sobbing, heap on the ground made me feel damn good. :)

Whoooo, bad ass!  way to go!!!

CatElf

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Headphones, sunglasses, and ignoring it.

They're not worth your time.

(If this post seems brief or anything like that it's because I'm using my phone and don't want to type a lot :))

Your kitten is disturbing.  Feed it, water it, do something for the poor thing.

CatElf

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I had a guy open the aerobics room door and literally yell across the room at me while I was dancing- i couldn't see him clearly- and I definitely couldn't hear him- so I ignored him.

 

Till he came in 15 minutes later while I was packing up to go... he introduced himself then told me Beyonce has a problem on her hands because I was so amazing. (who says that)

 

then asked if I was married.... seeing someone whatever.

Then gave me some weird schpeeil comparing me to the bodybuilder- how she was clearly stronger than me but I was more feminine... and I needed to stay that way.  (I actually do not believe she is stronger- she is just WAY WAY more cut than I am- but Mande is cool- so I don't care- it is neither here nor there)

 

I was like really- REALLY?  go away.  

 

ugh- people are so weird. 

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I really like lelagypsypunk's approach.  Also, I wonder if there's less that "we" can do about street harassment (ignoring, confronting, etc) and more that "others" can and should do.  To explain... I think a large reason that street harassment perpetuates is culture, and a lack of shame around the practice ("doesn't mean anything", "boys will be boys", "just ignore it") The commonly proposed solutions are requirements on the victim to make themselves less of a target, not on the perpetrator to simply not harass in the first place, even though there is no amount of scowling, power walking, or modest clothing that will turn uncivil boors into polite humans.

 

If other people called harassers onto the mat when they harass we'd probably see a lot less harassment, because no one, not even creeps, likes being criticized in public.  I was waiting for the bus a few months ago when a guy called at me, I ignored him, and got yelled at for being a "stuck up [c-word]" for my troubles.  He even got in my face to continue throwing obscenities.  Lots of other commuters were standing around, and no one stood up for me.  That was so crushing.

 

I agree that we should all do things to prevent being victimized, such as taking self-defense classes, but we should also entreat the people in our lives to stick up for others whom we see being harassed. 

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Philly just started a campaign fighting street harassment, called "hollaback" that basically says don't just walk on, say something. I'm not sure how I feel about this.

Agreed! I live in LA and there is no way in hell that I would want to actually stop and say something. Although, I'm pretty sure I can out run all the chubby homies who might make a pass at me while running, I'd really rather not test that theory.

 

I tend to give them a look that more or less says "you filthy peasant, how dare you even look at me" or some other stare that conveys that their come ones are so pathetic to me.

 

Lastly, I just don't get how guys think girls want this. Are there girls out there who like cat calls? I find it so off putting as does everybody I know, but when I explained that to a former co-worker he was surprised at how strongly negative my reaction was.

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it upsets me to no end that women often don't feel safe jogging or doing any number of things outside of their homes because of stuff like this. last time i was catcalled i was very happy to just flip them off and give them my best death glare [i've heard that my glare is pretty cutting in general, so that's a plus!] the whole situation got more depressing when i saw that they were just a bunch of 15-year-olds, probably hopped up on their hormones and being free from school for the summer. but when i feel gross inside because of a group of idiotic boys almost half my age, and i'm the one who feels bad and like i can't go outside, there's a serious problem.
i took a women's self defense course, and it was wonderful. i hope to god i never have to use any of that stuff, but i'm glad to know it just in case. i also totally agree that public shaming is a very important first step. the rape culture [and by extension the culture of harassment] that has developed is sickening. i'm going to have to agree with some of the other advice given and say that the best thing you can do is make yourself a difficult target, learn how to defend yourself [for a start, slap with the heel of you hand, not your palm!], and encourage anyone and everyone you can to stand up for others who are being harassed.
i am really glad to have a safe place like NF where we can talk and find strength and encouragement through one another. keep up the great community, ladies [and any gents who have been harassed as well]! and stay safe!

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level 4 elf ranger
STR | 6    DEX | 5    STA | 6    CON | 4    WIS | 4    CHA | 8

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When I was a teenager... I got a misdemeanor charge of assault... a guy was harassing me and then he grabbed my ass. He got a broken nose for his grope. The judge laughed when I went before him, and told him what happened... The guy got into trouble and the judge dropped the charges against me. 

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"I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy." ~~Marie Curie

 

"All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: Freedom, Justice, Honour, Duty, Mercy, Hope. " ~~ Winston Churchill 

Level 1 Human Druid STR 1 DEX 1 STA 1 CON 2 WIS 3 CHA 2  (yes, human. Boring I know.)

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I was walking to the park last night and some guy in his truck stopped at a toll booth said, "nice, very nice". I gave him the finger and kept walking. I don't think he saw but that's probably good because I worry about retaliation. But I'm just going to rant...

 

1. Yes, I am wearing skin-tight pants and see-through shirt, but it's Texas and it's 100+ degrees.

 

2. I am not here for your fucking entertainment or enjoyment. So while I appreciate the compliment, keep it to yourself.

 

3. Why did he feel the need to comment anyway? I've been out with PLENTY of guys who see a girl walk by who is beautiful, and then after she's gone and out of earshot they'll talk about it. "Did you see her? She looked amazing" Etc. 

 

Secondary rant: there's a hispanic TV station that shares my office building. A lot of the women who come and go are dressed to the 9s AND pretty curvy/voluptuous women. My (male, chauvinist) coworker was having a smoke break and one of these ladies happened by. When he told me about it later he said something along the lines of, "this hot bitch walked by". Why is she a bitch? Was she mean? Are all attractive women stuck-up and bitchy? Or just women who don't pay attention to you? 

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Amazon Warrior

29, F, 5'11 ft, 159lbs

#1, #2, #3, #4, #5

 

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Carry mace or a taser. Check out your state's laws on it first though; I don't know that they're available everywhere and different states may have different laws on the use of tasers. 

 

See if you can run with a friend. Maybe a big muscly man friend.

 

Don't wear ponytails, they're easy to grab for attackers.

 

Always let someone know you're going running, even if its just a friend you send a text to. (God forbid, if something happens then someone knows where you were and when and can get on finding you.)

 

Wear bright colors, helps passers-by see you better. If you are in distress or attacked its more noticeable.

 

But I think the best is safety in numbers - I recommend finding a buddy or a running group instead of going solo.

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Texas Mom of Boys, Druid Chick

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I'm a pretty easy-going person, but being honked at when I'm walking/running on the sidewalk is one of the few things that makes me livid, without fail.

 

First off, it makes me jump out of my skin from fright. I'm a tightly wound person and being honked at when I'm not expecting it practically makes me scream.

 

Second off, what the hell are you hoping to accomplish by it? "Hold on, sir. If you'll pull over so that I may lunge at you like a rabid, lust-crazed wolf." No. No. No. It's purely a show of power over someone who has no way of reacting and it's so shitty.

 

Last time it happened, I was on a run and a car full of teenage boys passed by, honked, while one of them stuck his head and arms out of the backseat and yelled "AYYY!" As if the honk wasn't enough to scare the shit out of me, then this snot-bubble-blowing child yells at me, totally unprovoked.

 

Makes me want to hole up inside my house forever. Or run indoors. Or scream obscenities, which is what I usually do (provided there aren't any children around).

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I'm a pretty easy-going person, but being honked at when I'm walking/running on the sidewalk is one of the few things that makes me livid, without fail.

 

First off, it makes me jump out of my skin from fright. I'm a tightly wound person and being honked at when I'm not expecting it practically makes me scream.

 

Second off, what the hell are you hoping to accomplish by it? "Hold on, sir. If you'll pull over so that I may lunge at you like a rabid, lust-crazed wolf." No. No. No. It's purely a show of power over someone who has no way of reacting and it's so shitty.

 

Last time it happened, I was on a run and a car full of teenage boys passed by, honked, while one of them stuck his head and arms out of the backseat and yelled "AYYY!" As if the honk wasn't enough to scare the shit out of me, then this snot-bubble-blowing child yells at me, totally unprovoked.

 

Makes me want to hole up inside my house forever. Or run indoors. Or scream obscenities, which is what I usually do (provided there aren't any children around).

 

This. All of it. I want to hide in my house always.

 

Interestingly, I told my BF about my lovely admirer and he said when he would run on the street, he'd get people honking and saying shit like, "hey man, pick up the pace". I love how cowardly people are. They would NEVER say it to your face but because they can hide in their car and drive away quickly, they'll say anything. I want to tell those guys, "hey, go fuck yourself because no woman would want to"

 

On a side note, this is why I don't play online games. I hear the shit that goes on when my boyfriend plays Halo. 13 year old boys dropping the n-word like they're so cool. Ugh, grow up and get over yourself!!

Amazon Warrior

29, F, 5'11 ft, 159lbs

#1, #2, #3, #4, #5

 

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Can I be absolutely honest and say if someone commented or whistled at me, I would feel flattered? It's been years since anything like that happened to me. I think my ego could use the slight boost right now. Take it as a compliment.

 

Either thank them/smile, shrug and ignore it or give them the middle finger/tell them where to shove it.

 

I guess we all react differently to these kind of actions.

Pixie Ranger Drunk on Tea~ (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

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