Having to walk a few blocks to and from your home shouldn’t give you anxiety or outright frighten you but as a woman, it’s an everyday reality in the city.
Tonight I attended my cousin’s wedding in Jersey and took the late train back to the city. Unfortunately there was construction and so train schedules were off and instead of taking the train which drops me off less than a block from home, I had to take the train which gave me a 3 1/2 block walk. It’s not that it’s a bad area, it’s an area where street harassment is common.
Because people always wrongly assume it has to do solely with what a woman wears(as if that gives the harasser the right to do so) let me clarify that I was wearing jean shorts, a baggy tshirt and sneakers, with a backpack on my back; hardly enticing.
In my less than fifteen minute walk…I got the following:
1. Catcalling (4 times)
2. Followed on foot to try to force a convo even after being told no thank you(1 time)
3. Followed by a car driving slowly alongside of me to force a convo even after being told no thank you (1 time)
4. Yelling out of a passing car (1 time)
It’s frightening, it’s unwanted, it’s unnecessary and most of all it is NOT a compliment. Walking down a street alone at night is difficult enough without the added fear that you may be raped or killed by someone who approaches you aggressively. And even in the daytime, street harassment is not appealing.
A friend of mine once told me to stop and educate the harasser by asking them if that approach had ever really worked, but why should I? Why can’t common sense inform a man that a woman who doesn’t even glance in your direction who is obviously and purposely trying to get somewhere is not interested in the attention you are trying to force on her?
Just my rambling thoughts tonight and if it makes even one man reconsider his approach in these situations, glad I got it out…