I am confused by Street Harassment. What can someone gain by calling someone else, “Nice bamsie “or “fat pum-pum” on the road? What kind of person does that make you? If they reply or smile, what kind of person are they? Some may say it makes you brave and bold, however, in every “brave warrior there is a fool,” and only a fool would want a stranger that would answer to such remarks. Unfortunately, the actions of the past have not created an attitude of respect in all communities and social groups.
I believe street harassment is an empty action used to fill the doers need for attention and self-importance. The need to be validated or noticed is unfortunately something persons of all walks of life may go through. These acts have a negative impact on a society as it creates a fear or discomfort in unwilling by-standers and victims, disrespects the victims and the attacker and the more it happens the more acceptable it seems yet it is of no benefit to anyone. The best way to feel important and attract attention is to make others feel important but respectfully.
You know Street Harassment is an issue that is not talked about really. Yet it affects so many persons across all parts of the country. I didn’t realize how many until I had watched a TED Talk video about harassment in Indian with my aunt and grandmother. After watching the video they started talking about the harassment they and their friends suffered and it hit home. I don’t want anyone to have a fear of walking the streets or to deal with the constant noise of an arrogant ignorant buffoon and such a person isn’t healthy for a society or the development of a potential tourism nation.
I have been attacked by street harassers and this is something that happens to males too so you shouldn’t be too surprised. Stop Street Harassment.org updated definition of street harassment is:
“Gender-based street harassment is unwanted comments, gestures, and actions forced on a stranger in a public place without their consent and is directed at them because of their actual or perceived sex, gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
Street harassment includes unwanted whistling, leering, sexist, homophobic or transphobic slurs, persistent requests for someone’s name, number or destination after they’ve said no, sexual names, comments and demands, following, flashing, public masturbation, groping, sexual assault, and rape.”
Thus many persons have been victims of street harassment and so have I. I was about 14 or 16 on my way to return a book to the library in my neighbourhood and a group of guys, basketballers, bigger than me were walking down the street in my direction. I’ll give them this I was awkward with being social even walking past people was awkward for me. So as I was passing one with a basketball looked at me and asked in an unclear voice “Do you know Marvin? The one that sings” I said quietly and awkwardly replied “Who?” and immediately another one turned around, as I was now behind them, and shouted “GAY!!” Now this was the first time something like that ever happened to me and I was shocked but I kept walking I clutched my book I was returning and kept walking. I replayed the situation a number of times in my head before I got to the library. It made me feel like an outcast like if I was actually gay or something. I already didn’t like going on the road after that it just made me more self conscious. I still see some of the guys around but they don’t say anything I guess they either grew up or because I walk with a knife now.
I feel sorry for persons, male or female, that do this act. The most powerful and influential persons in the world have charm and there is a big difference between charm and insults. Persons with charm you want them to tell you something but the individuals that throw unwanted remarks are those that make themselves the like the words they let loose, unwanted and unnecessary.
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