Street harassment


wanted to post on facebook but also didn’t want to alarm my family or anything. i’ve been harassed a lot recently (last week a man followed me off a bus, last night a man grabbed me in a metro station and kissed me, men shouting and saying things every day). in every case bystanders haven’t intervened or asked if i was ok or anything. feels like i’m still pretty terrible at dealing with it when stuff like this happens despite having had years to come up with good comebacks and the confidence to tell someone fuck off. still find myself being kinda polite towards harassers and even smiling and apologising sometimes :disappointed:

obvs these are people who are never going to read or engage with anything people like me say on the internet. share anything helpful or supportive you have to say or your own experiences if you want to, e.g.



It’s hard to process just how fucking regular this shit is


That sounds awful DD. I’m sorry it’s happened to you.

Not as serious as your experiences, but I had four separate men tell me to smile yesterday. I don’t really know what an appropriate response to that is, but each time I’ve felt less and less inclined to smile.

I posted about this at the time, but a few weeks ago I called some men out for being disgusting to a woman walking in front of me and got called a fat bitch in return.

Sorry I don’t really have anything more intelligent to add.


you’re a wonderful person for calling the disgusting awful men out. classic response from them :rage:


yeah. i was at a meeting for my feminist collective a few months ago and got cat called on my walk home. got in and messaged my friends to talk about it and it turned out the majority of people who had been at the meeting had also been harassed by at least one man on their way home from a meeting where we had been discussing anti-sexism campaigns…


This is probably an absurdly dated thing to think but have you found it more prevalent on the continent at all? I remember seeing an enormous step-up in frequency when I went to Italy years ago.


I have intervened on the two occasions where I’ve felt it was necessary. One was just a guy being a dick catcalling and I told him to stfu, the other was a bit more serious on an empty tube with this really big guy sitting right next to a young girl (maybe like 18 or something) and trying to talk to her leeringly even though she was just trying to ignore him. I sat opposite and just tried to engage him in conversation to give her the option to get off or move or whatever, and nearly ended up getting punched/headbutted in the face.

I mean I’m not saying that that threat is a good enough reason to keep out of things, on a moral basis, but it would definitely make me think twice if the situation came up again, or, if I’m being 100% honest, if I subconciously thought the person was more of a threat to me than I sbconciously judged this person to be (which for whatever reason I instinctively didn’t think he was).

Things being ignored by crowds/groups of people is entirely different obviously. And also there’s the “low level” stuff which maybe people don’t even consider harrassment which in itself is really fucking dark and worrying.


I’ve gone as far as a “Come on mate” to some knobish builder who wolf-whistled someone on the street the other day and got no real grief from that.

I’m either completely and utterly oblivious (very likely) or haven’t actually seen anything more serious than that (aside from seeing some bloke grab a girls arm as she walked past a month or so ago but from a bus)


dont think it’s worse in whole countries necessarily, i think its more in big cities with lots of people (understandable) but i guess these things take on different forms in different contexts.


and, like, I’m sorry @DarwinBabe for those experiences they sound awful. You shouldn’t blame yourself for your approach to dealing with it though, I would be inclined to trust your instincts in keeping yourself safe. You can’t just become the kind of person who can intimidate/shout people down at will, and if your instinctive reaction is to close the situation down with politeness, then, well I can see that this would be maddening and depressing but if it actually keeps you safe then just remember that it is not the real problem here? sorry if this is waffle just shooting from the hip (mansplaining)


Sort of observed a similar situation awhile ago when I was coming back from the gym where a woman, I think in her mid 20s maybe, was walking along the same side of the road as me and walked past a bar/gastropub where two men started trying to talk to her and then followed her all the way to the tube station (which was about 2 minutes away). She was replying back to them but she didn’t stop walking so I personally was a bit uncomfortable with it and kept an eye out.

I suppose sometimes judging the threshold whereby someone would intervene can seem slightly tricky, whilst she wasn’t displaying any signs of being threatened by the situation the OP does make me wonder if that’s just a case of perception.


I think this is one of those things like racism that people like to think doesn’t really happen anymore but is happening all the time and they just see it as “boys being boys” which makes it ok.


I wonder as well sometimes if the weary-mechanisms that women use to combat this shit (appearing indifferent, ignoring it etc) make us idiots think that something isn’t actually happening when it is maybe?


Exactly, I think she was quite familiar with the situation so just kept walking, but I did wonder if she would have appreciated someone else getting involved.


Interested to hear from women where the line is at which you’d want someone to get involved, and whether sometimes you’d be worried about intervention just escalating or drawing unwanted attention to the situation?


yeah thanks smee. if I was drunk I’d totally have had a massive go at him I think, cause it was in a very public place and I didnt have any real concern about my safety, just weirdly ingrained socialisation to be like " no thank you heehee bye" and appear as if i’m just being bashful


i can’t string a sentence together today


(although I stood up to a gym bro the other day who asked if he could use a machine I had only been on for about 2 minutes and I said really loudly “no, why would I? You can use it when I’m finished.”

but there were no women in the gym to congratulate me


cant believe people have the gall to do things described in this thread, people are so rubbish some times


Just so many dense mouth-breathing fuckheads out there. Just feel like it would be fine if castration on a three-strike system would probably be for the best at this point.