Street Harassment: A reminder that rape is a very real threat.

So it has been a while since I got on my soapbox and started ranting about something. However, in the past week there has been an abundance of creepy men around, and it’s wound me up enough to write about. At this point, I’d like to point out that I know many lovely males who are nothing like the ones who I’m writing about, but there’s a very vocal minority who are ruining everything. It all started earlier this week when my friend text me this:

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and I won’t lie, I did chuckle at the police bit. Not because I didn’t take what she had told me as seriously, but because she was so intent on trying to get those guys punished. However, at the same time I totally understand where she is coming from because since Sunday, I’ve had six different guys say something to me in the street which was utterly repellent. The top three are:

1) I’d just got back into Sheffield at ten at night and was making my way home and a guy stops shouts after me ”I’d love to bend you over and stick my tongue up your arse”

2) Walking home from Tesco at nine at night and a guy stops his car and offers to use his tongue on me.

3) Walking past a group of guys and have them start to discuss how they’d ”fuck” me.

Of course, the natural response is ”I have an idea, how about you shut the fuck up?” but when you’re on your own in the evening or faced with a group of males the only thing you want to do is get out of the situation because you do feel vulnerable. So, to any male who thinks it’s fine to harass a female in the street, here are three reasons why you shouldn’t:

1)Nothing is going to come out of it

Why some males shout stuff at women in the street is debatable, do they really think that the girl they shout stuff at is going to lie down on the pavement and open her legs? I have never known a girl who’s been shouted at give the male a second glance, partly because no girl in her right mind would respond to some cretin shouting ”Get your tits out love!” and also because most of them are double her age and look like they need to disinfected. Of course, there is the argument that some men are doing it because they like the feeling of intimidating women, but even then, some men must think that women actually enjoy this attention and that it will result in something.

2)The threat of rape is very real to a woman

It’s arguably quite difficult for a male to truly understand the threat of rape that women feel. Of course, they can emphasise, but not many of them know what it is like to have someone twice your size shouting lewd stuff at you at eleven o clock at night. Men need to stop shouting such sexual and derogatory insults at women because it makes is feel vulnerable. Sure, some men may be doing it for a laugh, but how on earth does a woman know that this strange man isn’t going to go further and actually move onto physical violence from verbal insults. Generally, women are the weaker sex in physical terms, so to be in a situation where one person (or more than one) who can physically overpower you is shouting things at you is very intimidating, and can be frightening.

3) Imagine it was your Mother

I think a lot of the males who shout at females forget that the girl they are shouting at isn’t an object to project their sexual fantasies on, but someone’s Mother, daughter, sister and they are the men that their families worry about when said Mother/Daughter/Sister is walking alone in the evening. How many of these men would find it funny if they were walking down the street with their Mother and a man parks up next to him and tells his Mother he’d like to fuck her etc etc? Not many, I imagine. That’s the problem with these men who shout things, they completely dehumanise the girl they are shouting at and reduce her to an object.

Of course, I’m not naive enough to think that we’ll stop all men everywhere from shouting such things, it’s impossible. However, I think the fact that I can count six separate incidents in the past week alone that have happened to me, suggests there is a problem. Perhaps the fact these incidents have occurred in the same week that the woman who campaigned
to get Jane Austen’s face on bank notes has received threats of rape from trolls on Twitter makes them more significant. Regardless, it’s time for women and men to start shouting back at street harassment.

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