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History of Feminism

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(7,237 posts)
Mon Sep 17, 2012, 12:00 PM Sep 2012

STREET HARASSMENT: Every Woman's War [View all]

I am walking down the street, headed to work, wearing a loosely fitting dress and high heels. I know that the light breeze will cling to my body at times, but I feel good. Confident even, and ready to take on the week. I see them before they see me: five men, some shirtless because of the oppressive summer heat, all ranging in age. It is too warm to remain indoors, so they have decided to take their conversation to the corner, a common ritualistic display in my neighborhood of brotherhood and machismo.

My steps become slower as I weigh my options: I can walk straight past them, eyes forward, and pray that I will be invisible. I can smile and say ‘thank you’ if they do acknowledge me with compliments, hoping that this will not lead to an open invitation to be followed. I can cross the street, quickly, tune out my ears to whatever may be yelled from across the street, and continue on my way. Or, I can respond, the way my mind has often warned me not to, with an angry tirade, and risk being verbally or even physically assaulted.

These are the type of decisions that I and many other women must make on a daily basis by simply walking outside.


But, here is what I also know. Nothing can ever really changed until we speak up collectively. No wound can ever trulyheal unless we take a look at how it got there in the first place. If you witness a woman being mentally or physically violated, speak up. It is far more powerful to defend what is right than ignore it. If you are a parent raising a young man, teach them how to respect their counterparts by leading by example and having open, candid conversations about how they can verbalize their emotions and impulses in a respectful way. If you are a teacher, implement sexual harassment education into your curriculum. Our children need a new model of communication. If you are a woman, consider taking a self-defense class and organizing an escort service in your community. These are the precautions we must take to keep ourselves safe.

Link to article: http://www.ebony.com/life/street-harassment-every-womans-war-554
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