Street sexual harassment needs to stop

3 06 2009

For those of you in the New York City area, New Yorkers for Safe Transit (NYFST) is hosting an event next Monday, June 8th that is worth attending:

Taking Back Public Transit: Confronting Violence on Board. In response to an ongoing rash of sexual assaults and harassment occurring in the subways, New Yorkers for Safe Transit (NYFST) is hosting a forum for concerned community members and anti-violence activists to analyze the rampancy of gender-based violence in the New York City public transit system and discuss strategies to address this problem. The event will take place Monday, June 8th from 7pm to 9pm at the Brecht Forum, 451 West St. (btwn. Bank & Bethune).

Sexual harassment on the streets and on the subways (or other forms of mass transit) are a daily reality for many women. I’ve endured obnoxious catcalling and verbal harassment from men on the street throughout middle and high school. One morning when I was going to school on the train (I was in sixth grade at the time), a sick pervert flashed me. Within that week, my best friend at the time was also flashed by a man on the subway. In 8th grade, a friend and I encountered a man publicly masturbating in front of us while we were riding the subway.

Just yesterday, I was walking down a quiet, narrow street, and there was a man walking slowly taking up the entire sidewalk in front of me. I was in a rush so I quickened my pace and tried to get ahead of him, but when he heard me quicken my pace he started walking faster as well. I got in front of him, but then felt him poke me from behind. I turned around and he had his penis whipped out, and was just walking slowly and leisurely grossly exposing himself like that.

At the time I was too shocked, grossed out and angered to say or do anything, so I just quickly crossed the street and walked in the opposite direction. I should’ve taken a picture of the creep and sent it to Holla Back NYC. One of the reasons why NYFST’s upcoming forum is so important is because like I said before, sexual harassment is a frequent reality that many women experience but do not know always how to respond to. Sexual harassment is a way of policing female bodies and restricting their navigation of public space. It can be traumatizing, often times infuriating, and just plain disrespectful and disgusting. Everyone deserves to feel safe and comfortable in public spaces.

From Stop Street Harassment! (their blog is also worth checking out):

Not only is this behavior [leering, whistling, honking, sexually charged comments, vulgar gestures, masturbation, stalking, sexual touching or grabbing, assault and even murder] an invasion of privacy and often annoying, it also makes many women worried for their safety and feel unwelcome in public places. While women’s perception of men’s attraction in pubilc varies depending on factors like what the men are doing, the women’s personal history with violence, and how safe they feel at the time, no woman wants to be insulted, groped, stalked, or assaulted. Many women don’t want to be bothered at all. Girls and women should have just as much right to be in public spaces as boys and men. The harassment and assault must stop!


Actions

Information

2 responses

4 06 2009
NYC Forum on Subway Sexual Harassment | Change Happens: The SAFER Blog

[…] The Gender Bender Blog alerted me to an interesting event for those of us in NYC: Taking Back Public Transit: Confronting Violence on Board. In response to an ongoing rash of sexual assaults and harassment occurring in the subways, New Yorkers for Safe Transit (NYFST) is hosting a forum for concerned community members and anti-violence activists to analyze the rampancy of gender-based violence in the New York City public transit system and discuss strategies to address this problem. The event will take place Monday, June 8th from 7pm to 9pm at the Brecht Forum, 451 West St. (btwn. Bank & Bethune). […]

4 08 2009
Thoughts on oppression, masculinity, power, the male gaze, street harassment, and slavery. « Emily Heroy

[…] to look at women. Is it a compliment when a man whistles at a woman walking by on the street? No, it’s just another example of men exerting their power over women. Why? Jessica Valenti, executive editor of Feministing.com, said in her book, He’s a Stud, She’s […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: