I’m getting a enthused excited about the anti-street harassment movement in Pittsburgh. HollaBackPGH has a blog with moving stories of women in my area being harassed, which really help me focus on the issue at hand: who benefits from our current policies regarding street harassment.
(Not sure what the movement-of-the-month is*? Here’s a good definition of street harassment and what a HollaBack is.)
Every guy should know that many women will perceive an unwanted come-on as a threat. Every guy should know that even if they personally have not, would not, and will never commit violence in any way, shape or form, particularly in relation to sex, most women will weigh up the possibility before responding. Every guy should know that if they yell out of a car at a woman on the street, and she doesn’t respond, it may reflect that she’s scared they’ll stop the car and attack her, not that she doesn’t mind.
[…] if you speak to a woman who is otherwise occupied, you’re sending a subtle message. It is that your desire to interact trumps her right to be left alone. If you pursue a conversation when she’s tried to cut it off, you send a message. It is that your desire to speak trumps her right to be left alone. And each of those messages indicates that you believe your desires are a legitimate reason to override her rights.
For women, who are watching you very closely to determine how much of a threat you are, this is an important piece of data.
I think men can be allies in ending street harassment. One post I read ended with the question: if women really liked being complimented by strangers, why don’t hecklers get laid more often than good guys? I bet they don’t. So, readers who are good guys, will you HollaBack and report street harassment when you see it?
*I’m being facetious. Movement-of-the-month implies that I’m no longer interested in fighting human trafficking or copyright reform. Not true. I’m just helping who I can, where I can, when I can; and right now, it looks like the anti-street harassment movement might be a good place to teethe.
River Song: Everyone knows that everyone dies. And nobody knows it like the doctor. But I do think that all the skies in all the worlds might just turn dark, if he ever accepts it.