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May 27 2012

Life on the streets

Surprise shock revelation: there is sexual harassment in London.

The harrassment ranges from wolf-whistling and lewd comments to physical groping and sexual assault.

Campaigners say that reported cases represent “the tip of the iceberg” and that authorities can no longer afford to ignore the issue.

Research released today by the End Violence Against Women (EVAW) coalition shows 41 per cent of women under the age of 34 have been on the receiving end of sexual harassment in the street.

Blacklist! Witch hunt!! Innocent until proven guilty!!! Feminazis!!!!

Plus, you’re ugly!!!!!

The true extent of sexual harassment across Britain is difficult to judge. Campaigners say there is an acute shortage of academic studies looking into women’s experiences. But anecdotal evidence and the few studies that exist suggest unwanted sexual attention is frighteningly common. Fiona Elvines, from the Rape Crisis Centre, south London, is one of the few academics researching public sexual harassment for a PhD. “The issue has been trivialised for so long that is hasn’t been seen as a valid subject to study,” she said. “But the effect it has is enormous, from everyday decisions women have to make to avoid such harassment – like pretending to talk on your phone – to longer term effects on how they view their bodies.”

Whiners! Victims!! Waaaaaaa!!! Sluts!!!! Bitches!!!!!

Sexual harassment victims speak out

Lisa, Bath

“It seems quite minor, but for me it really summed up how some men are such knobs sometimes. I was walking across [town]. A guy shouted ‘hello’ at me, I ignored him and carried on walking. He then shouted ‘what, not good enough for you? It really angered me that he turned his douchebaggery round on me. Suddenly, in his mind, he’s not an ass for shouting at me, it’s that I’m a bitch because I ignored him. So typical.”

Smile, you bitch!

10 comments

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  1. 1
    Josh Slocum

    A depressing reminder of the horrible thread with people telling you that *you* were wrong, Ophelia, to object to that wretched man who told you to smile.

  2. 2
    Ophelia Benson

    Yup, Josh; it reminded me of that. I started to say so but then decided it would be too cryptic unless I gave a boring amount of recapitulated information, so I didn’t.

    But it was just like that, because he not only shouted at me for failing to smile, he also shouted at me even more, approached me in a threatening manner, and repeatedly told me I’m not a woman, when I asked him why on earth he would shout at me for not smiling.

  3. 3
    Phil Giordana FCD

    I have been homeless for a year. It was back in 1996, as I had a falling-down with my father (long story).

    It was a very difficult time for me. I had to steal from grocery stores to get my daily food (and yes, booze as well, I cannot deny it helped me not kill myself). Slept wherever there was no rain falling on me.

    During this time, I have been kicked a good amount of times, and I also have met wonderful people who would help me without asking anything in return.

    But to be back on topic, I’ve seen some pretty horrible acts toward women I frequented at the time. You can guess it: offers of money or food for sex, remarks about how they should prostitute themeselves to hearn more… etc.

    Fuck this! Men, women, black, white, asian, arab… Humans, aren’t we all?

  4. 4
    Phil Giordana FCD

    Might be if interest that I had the same offers as well…

  5. 5
    Mother Monster, Destroyer of Morals

    I was born with several minor facial deformities, one of which was able to be repaired in infancy, a couple of which weren’t.

    Since puberty, I’ve been called “ugly” and “dog”, in public, more times than I can count. The harassment has come from girls and women, too. It’s usually (though not always) done up close, so other passers by don’t notice. Sometimes there are no words, just barking sounds.

    (I feel compelled to add, that over the years some people have found me attractive. I could never quite believe it, though. And I’ve had further cosmetic surgery. Now I’m old enough, and normal-enough looking, that it doesn’t happen much anymore. But I still live with it everyday.)

    I hate admitting to it. It makes me feel embarrassed and vulnerable. Anyone who reads this can now dismiss me, forever. Because, as I’ve learned well, I’m worthless, and worthy of contempt. And of course I’m giving anyone on ERV ammunition. Abbie’s so witty.

    Sorry for sockpuppeting, Ophelia. I can’t bring myself to comment under my usual ‘nym. Which is cowardly of me. The experiences of women like me are mostly invisible, because we are the ones who feel ashamed.

  6. 6
    Musical Atheist

    What is deeply frustrating to me is that some male friends will not always believe that I can tell the difference between a compliment and an attempt at gender based intimidation. I’ve been told, with a kindly laugh, that I could ‘choose to interpret it another way’ because ‘it is a compliment after all’ when I experience derisive whistles or comments in the street. No. I can tell the difference between a genuine compliment and an attempt to intimidate me in the same way I can tell the difference between normal friendliness and a tone of explicit contempt in someone’s voice.

    And Mother Monster, I’m so freaking sorry. It never ceases to depress me how girls and women can police and isolate each other for the sake of holding their own places in an oppressive hierarchy of imaginary male approval.

  7. 7
    Phil Giordana FCD

    Mother Monster: if anyone at ERV tried to get a shot at you for sharing this touching and earnest story, I can tell you I’d get on their case really fast. I don’t think anyone would, but you never know.

  8. 8
    A nym too

    My first week in my comprehensive school I had my head slammed into a wall by sixth former (I was 11, he was 18). Apparently I was “too much of a deformed m*ng to live”. The head of pastoral care laughed it off.

    Weeks later a boy cornered me, making disgusting remarks. I was scared, I swung my bag at him. It had a 150ml glass bottle in it, an empty Panda. Pop bottle (anyone remember them?) I was hauled off to the Head of PC again. He lambasted me, saying I invited bullying by being fat (actually just daring to have large breasts, wearing glasses, having scoliosis, and being “weird”. He said “I’d probably bully you too”.

    For my punishment, I was dragged round to every classroom in that building. He told the teachers that I’d assaulted my harasser with a broken bottle. I was forced to apologiset to every class, sobbing, for “denying [them] a safe learning environment”. One male teacher followed me into the hallway, he said “I hope your dad knocks. ten shades of shit out of you tonight”.*

    I was taunted by teachers and pupils alike, from 11-16, for having body hair. Fellow pupils would scream “fucking wildebeest! are you that hairy everywhere you animal?”

    At 14, I was sexually, verbally, and physically assaulted in broad daylight by about five boys. I’d been walking home from the library. I ran home in a terrible state. Over the mile I saw several people I knew, not one acknowledged me. When I told my parents they laughed. “Were they blind or just desperate?” and “Lucky you, hope you got at least one phone number!”

    At 15, in maths class, someone was bothering me. He was dating an acquaintance. I have endometriosis, and was in a lot of pain. He kept touching my shoulder, my waist, my arms and my stomach. I told him straight “Do that once more and I’ll make sure you never do it again”. Ten minutes later he’s at my group’s table, pretending he needs to borrow something. The touching started again, so I gave another warniwg. So he put his hand on my shoulder and slid down toward my collarbone.

    I snapped. I grabbed the hand, whirled around and out of my seat, and pushed him really hard. Unfortunately he had his back to a cracked window, held together with tape. I ended up being told that I was “too sensitive” and a “hormonal little madam”. I was told. that they (the school) ideally wanted me charged with assault and criminal damage, but that it would make the. school. look “too rough” if it got out. Oh and apparently that ground floor window was not cracked, and the tape was just there “because”.

    *Ironically I was being abused by my parents. I was too scared to speak up at school because they were abusive too. I self-harmed to ease the pain, I even did it in class a few times. All I got was rolled eyes and “attention seeking cretin”.

    I’m 35 now, I still have screaming nightmares about the place. About the girls throwing disposable razors at me, the boys punching me and spitting in my face for being a. “monster”

    a. I’ve always felt hideous and worthless as a result. Ended up having non-consensual. sex, and engaging in sexual acts, with men. Even though I’m gay. I just froze, not thinking I had any right to refuse attention. A female date got me very drunk, and did things to me in a crowded train station. But monsters don’t have the hight to say no, do they?

    I have a wonderful partner now, but I still get panicky in groups, teens terrify. me, and threat looms everywhere.

    I wish the naysayers could live it for an hour, be told (as I was( “boys will be boys! toughen up, you’re sensitive and immature, jet them have their fun!”

    Oh how I wish…

  9. 9
    Mother Monster, Destroyer of Morals

    Thanks, Phil.

    A nym too, I’m so sorry. Glad things are better now.

  10. 10
    Rudi

    “Suddenly, in his mind, he’s not an ass for shouting at me, it’s that I’m a bitch because I ignored him.”

    I get that in London quite often as well, and I’m a man. Although usually the epithet will be “cunt” instead of “bitch”. Coz like, can’t call a bloke a bitch, that’s well poofy, innit.

    I hate these people.

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