Witness of Street Harassment

Photo by tvol via Flickr

I was on the bus on the way to work this morning, and out the window I saw an old homeless man sitting in front of Tackle Box. A young woman walked by him, and he stuck his hand out at her. She ignored him and kept on walking, and he turned his head so he could continue to watch her walk. Yuck! Had I been out there I would’ve called him out on it.

Submitted by Anonymous on 11/4/2009

Location: In front of Tackle Box (M Street, Georgetown)

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11 responses to “Witness of Street Harassment

  1. him watching her walk away is harassment? oy.

  2. him watching her walk away is harassment? oy.

    Why are you questioning what’s harassment on here and on the other story (“Harassment as a Sport”)? If these women think it’s harassment, then it’s harassment.

  3. I just am not sure that unobtrusively looking at someone in public (the story makes no mention that the person even noticed him looking) qualifies as harassment. And to put it on a scale with most stuff on this site, I think, weakens the overall impact. Harassment is absolutely a real problem. I’m just not sure this qualifies.

  4. and the “harassment as a sport” post, I legitimately didn’t understand.

  5. #1 — this isnt even the person who was… leered at? begged from? who is posting.. so any indignation/offense is purely the posters own issues coming to a head, not someone who actually felt personally assaulted.

    #2 I agree, street harassment is horrible, people should not be groped or verbally assaulted, and we should all make a stand against it. But part of that stand has to be understanding what harassment IS.. and this is clearly NOT.

  6. #1 — this isnt even the person who was… leered at? begged from? who is posting.. so any indignation/offense is purely the posters own issues coming to a head, not someone who actually felt personally assaulted.

    Well I’m of the party of those who give people the benefit of the doubt. So regardless of what the original poster thought, if they think it’s harassment, it’s harassment. Who are we to question what’s harassment?

  7. Golden Silence, you’re embarking on a slippery slope by saying that, and in so doing you discredit legitimate harassment. Is saying “hi” on the street to someone harassment? A head nod? how about looking at someone’s clothing/face as they walk by?

    If this is truly all subjective and in the eye of the beholder, harassment loses all meaning. I feel like that’s not what this blog is intended for, though I can’t speak to that as I am clearly not the blog’s founder. However, when anything and everything, including looking at someone on the street without their noticing is considered harassment, the whole endeavor just seems silly.

    Perhaps we should all walk around with blinders on and just never interact with anyone again. Huzzah, no harassment! or personal interaction!

    Golden Silence, do you ever think that complaints of harassment are illegitimate? I mean that as a genuine question.

  8. And to that end, if I see a guy approach a woman on the street, am I allowed to say it’s harassment? Does her opinion matter? In this case, the woman who was theoretically harassed is not the one complaining. You say “if they think it’s harassment, it’s harassment. Who are we to question what’s harassment”

    Who gets the final call? One outside observer over the other? The person who was the subject of the look?

  9. and lastly, though you don’t have to publish this, I appreciate that my earlier comments were published. I really do not intend to disrupt — these are genuine questions that I feel are important to this board, I’m not simply trolling and trying to start fights.

    • We want this to be a space where we can have a healthy dialogue on street harassment. While we moderate comments we welcome comments that help us think outside the box and examine street harassment as long as they are not sexist, racist, and do not attack the poster.

  10. At least with respect to workplace sexual harassment, the courts have looked to the “reasonable woman” standard – i.e. would a “reasonable woman” have felt the conduct constituted harassment?

    http://www.answers.com/topic/reasonable-woman

    “If these women think it’s harassment, then it’s harassment” is just plain wrong. There needs to be an objective standard.

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