Hollaback London: If someone wolf whistles at you or grabs you in the street, would you confront them?
I want to spread the word about Hollaback London, a movement dedicated to ending street harassment, and talk about reacting to a wolf-whistle, a ‘hey mama’ or a grope in a public space.
When I’ve discussed street harassment with female friends, every one of them has experienced it to some degree. Be it someone grabbing your hand, touching you in an inappropriate place, making an obscene gesture, it surrounds us all the time. A YouGov survey of 1,047 Londoners commissioned by End Violence Against Women Coalition (Evaw) found that 43% of women aged between 18 and 34 had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces in the last year – that’s a lot of women – I wonder how many of them confronted their harasser?
There’s been so little research into the impact of these cat calls or stares that it’s really hard to pinpoint the emotional and psychological effects over a long period of time. To be sporadically objectified in a public place doesn’t make me feel great – just angry and powerless. I mean, what exactly can you do when someone grabs you or calls you ‘sexy legs’ in the street? Can you turn around, if you’re alone, and ask them politely why they said that, or why they grabbed you?
The comment I added:
The other day, a friend on FB talked about her street harassment that day. She did not appreciate it but added, “I wasn’t even wearing anything nice, it was so weird”. So, she didn’t appreciate it but she still construed it as some sort of compliment. I was very sad for her but I can see why she did that – it’s the way we’re socialised.
- [link] Sexist remarks and wolf-whistles could become criminal offences (afeimineach.wordpress.com)
- Hollaback! Edinburgh Campaign Launches Today (edinburghanarchists.noflag.org.uk)
- [link] Street Harassment 101 (afeimineach.wordpress.com)
- [link] Perpetrators of street harassment… misogynistic or just uneducated? (afeimineach.wordpress.com)
- Hollaback! Sheffield (thefword.org.uk)
- [link] Let women stand up to harassment from squids on the street (afeimineach.wordpress.com)
- Speaking out against street harassment. (cnn.com)
- Two women minding their own business, and street harassment (afeimineach.wordpress.com)
- Sex and the Site: Wolf Whistling Workers (employmentlawexperts.wordpress.com)
- On Men Who Think Street Harassment Would Be Awesome (brutereason.net)