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Street Harassment, how do you deal?


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It would be very strange if I said that the content of sexual harassment wasn't sexual. I do believe that one of the underlying motivations for some sexual harassment is related to feelings of power and dominance on the part of the perpetrator and that's what I was trying to convey.


then im glad i asked you to clarify, because i'd hate to jump to "mansplaining" without fully understanding what you were trying to say :P

It's the moose on the inside that counts.

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Street harassment is icky.  I really do believe that most guys who partake in this don't mean anything.  But there's that 1%...and who can tell who the 1% is.  Louis CK has a bit where he says, "Of course it's okay to say hello to a woman! But if you say, 'Hey, baby, give me a smile,' maybe you're a douchebag."  At any rate, I tend to employ the surroundings training I learned studying abroad.  Keep your headphones low enough to hear what's going on around you, but act like you're the only person in the whole world.  That you literally can't see or hear this other person, that they effectively don't exist.  I've found it handy for getting around crowded areas too.  I can't see you, you don't exist, haul ass and get OUT OF MY WAY.


At the gym is a different story, because we're indoors and I'll have to see this people again in 48 hours.  So then I directly address it.  Last time some older guy told me not to quit yet, I'd only been there for half an hour, I could do so much more.  "I'm sorry, when you were timing me, you clearly didn't take into account the three miles I ran with my dog first.  I'm.  Going.  Home."


Later, he applied to work at the company I'm in HR for.  I didn't hire him.  SWEET REVENGE.

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I consider myself very privileged in that I have never been harassed by a guy in public in any way. I am very aware of my surroundings non-the-less, but where I live, it doesn't seem to be common. There is a bridge over a creek close to where I live, and I like to play around it. It was early spring, warm enough for me to go barefooted on the asphalt, but cool enough that I took shoes along for my 2  year old just in case. I was carrying him on my back, and had just climbed out from under the bridge and started walking home. A car came up behind me and slowed down, my adrenaline came up a bit, and I checked out my escape options just to be on the safe side. It was an older car, and a guy with a long beard rolled down the window. He asked me if I was in any trouble, and if I needed some help or a ride somewhere. When I politely declined, he said to have a good day, and drove off. I never saw him again, but it was nice to know there would have been someone willing to help if I needed it. This kind of thing has happened a few times since then, always different people, sometimes a man, sometimes a woman, once a van full of what appeared to be a family. My neighbor also occasionally offers to take me home when I'm biking home from town 6 miles away. I've never accepted, but if it was raining or something, I would be more than happy to, as I trust him completely.   This is how it should be in every city/community.

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I've have noticed correlation between street harassment and how confident in my surroundings I am at the time.

I rarely ever get bothered at home in Scotland.  And it does go on here.

However, my first time in foreign lands on my own I was a bit scared.  And friends joking about "Taken 3: please take her back she eats too much and bites" didn't really help me feel safer.

The not bad things that happened:
Asked to go for a drink
Asked for my number
Told I was pretty.

The bad things:
Physical contact, after saying I was not interested.  (different person from the nice ones)

I defended myself with reasonable force. 

It's never been as bad in any other country as that one, but I still have the first couple of days finding my feet where people push their luck.

In summary, to deal with it:
1. Try and walk like you are confident in yourself
2. Be able to escape
3. Be able to get snappy and or bitey as a last resort

"Gentle means tired."

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I lived in Nablus, Palestine for a few months, and I went running a lot there. At first I wasn't sure what to expect, so I ran after dark wearing baggy men's clothes (sweatpants, hoodie with the hood up). Might seem counter productive, but there's no one around to harass you and I felt a lot more comfortable then. The few people I saw on the streets never bothered me. That was in the winter, so when the daylight hours got longer, I had to run during the day.


Whoo! I got chased by kids, plenty of "helloooo, what your name?!" and some laughs from the ladies, but I rarely ever got what I would consider sexual harrassment. It's natural for people to be curious about random redheaded foreigners doing something crazy like jogging through the city! They gave my guy friends just as much trouble.


That being said, I always drew the line at touching. Comments, fine, trying to touch me, no way. So one day, it was the end of my run, and I was just cresting the top of the hill above my apartment. I passed these two fifteen year olds at a slow jog. All of a sudden, I hear a "Hello!!!" and feel someone touch my butt. The two boys run past me, laughing. I was like, OH NO YOU DON'T. I sprinted after them. The two boys were still laughing as they jogged off, then they looked behind them and saw me sprinting after them and they stopped laughing and started running for real. Too bad for them: one was on the pudgy side and I was finishing up training for a fast 10k. I caught up with them, grabbed the one who had touched me, and started slapping him in the face, shouting at him in Arabic. "Shame!" Slap. "On!" Slap. "You!" "Where is your mother?!" and the like. He starts babbling, "I'm sorry, I'll never do it again!!!" Once he got the picture, I jogged away, sending him a glare of doom over my shoulder as I went.


While caution should be advised attempting these sorts of things, that is my favorite memory of giving a harasser exactly what he deserved.

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