Being a small 21-year-old woman living in Chicago, I tend to be an “easy target.”
Which means I’m well-aware that sexual harassment is a serious issue. We’re talking countless personal experiences. From annoying cat calls and unwanted pick-up attempts, to the more extreme, like being masturbated to on the train (three times) or having a co-worker shove his “area” into me during a shift.
It’s an issue. And I’m sure every other female living anywhere in America, or the rest of the world, has experienced this on some level.
So, when I came across this article in the Christian Science Monitor, I was sort of dumbfounded. Especially when I discovered the writer is an expert and published author on this very topic.
The Four Key Steps to Put Harassment to an End (apparently) are:
1. Acknowledge that street harassment is not a compliment.
2. Give girls and women real help. Teach them empowering, assertive responses, self-defense, and how to report harassers.
3. Focus on potential and current harassers.
4. We need to change the society that lets street harassment occur.
My initial reaction was just sort of “Well, yeah?” I understand that this story was probably intended to be a general “this is what’s up” piece. But don’t we already know?
The writer requests, “if you care about the current and next generation of girls, if you support equality, if you believe in human decency, then don’t sit by. Do something.”
It’s crucial to educate girls on the subject of harassment. It’s important to teach them about respect and empowerment. Girls and women should, in fact, all know self-defense. These steps are not necessarily wrong.
Especially #4: We need to change the society that lets street harassment occur. Thank you. Now please elaborate on how this can be done. Because the fact that you have to ask us not to sit by and to do something is what’s most terrifying.