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“We have become so accustomed to sexual assault of any kind in everyday life that we sometimes forget to defend ourselves against it.” This comes from German blogger Maike Hank who was quoted in a Forbes article about street harassment—and the problem in Germany is looking like the same problem that exists in the US and Canada. The problem is the inability of society to let a woman walk down the street feeling safe. Hank’s blog tells an all too familiar story of street harassment where she is jostled by three young men saying, according to my translated version of the article “stupid things”. No physical violence is committed, but encounters like that cause a woman to have to carry around fear like the season’s hottest fashion accessory. I don’t have to explain to most women what it is like—because you all have lived with it.

We already live in a world where girls are kept in at night, told not to dress too revealing, and to always go out with friends. I, like many other women, had the fear of sexual violence instilled into me by parents, teachers, police officers, and friends. It is wise to not go out alone, and to look after one another. But sexual violence is happening on a scale beyond what these measures could hope to remedy and that is because the victims are not the problem.

International Feminism: Battling Street Harassment