Guest post: On dealing with street harassment

Guest post by Alicia LeeLee Thompson, originally a comment on a public Facebook post by Lawrence Mahmood.

I gotta say, I cannot stop laughing at some of these comments! I find it odd that the majority of people defending the act of the Merrett are men… Duh.

I’ve had this kind of bullshit behaviour, from building sites and the like, for as long as I can remember. Up until recently, I never responded or did anything about it, I simply put my head down, grumbled an insult under my breath and kept walking in the hopes that the irritating pricks would just go away.

It’s intimidating enough as it is for a lone woman to walk past a group of ‘men’ without them all gaggling together to shout stupid stuff at you. That’s no different to Eg: a young boy walking past a group of older boys, he keeps his head down and tries to pass quickly without incident but alas, the lads start shouting things at him.

It’s intimidation and bullying no matter how you look at it.

Yes, there are a small minority of women out there who thrive on this kind of behaviour, but for the vast majority of us it’s embarrassing, threatening and fucking shameful to be on the receiving end of. And NO man on this earth can know what that feels like, especially when it plagues most of the years of your life. (So ANDY can fuck off!)

As I said, I always used the ignore button until recently.

My 16yr old daughter, who is 4 foot 11 and looks no older than 12, was with me in town one day.

The workman on a local site starting shouting to her. I quickly told them to stop and told them she was a child.
Their reaction was “so?” and I was told to lighten up…

This was my daughter’s first encounter with such behaviour and she was upset and frightened by it – “why are these grown men shouting at me? What did I do?”

I agree, to some degree, that reporting it to police is a bit weird. Mainly because it’s not a crime that I think deserves the tax payers money going through the courts, and judicial system. But you’re damn right it needs addressing!

For intimidating my daughter I felt the ‘eye for an eye’ treatment was fairer so I attempted to climb the scaffolding and show him what ‘intimidation’ felt like.

I loudly named and shamed the main culprit and asked all the other men to stop making him feel so insecure. This man clearly feels threatened by the other males in his environment, and true to form, announced himself to the world by proving his heterosexuality in the loudest form. By shouting at girls in the street, he’s exclaiming “I’m a man! I like girls!”. A real man would already know that, and not feel the need to ‘impress’ the others. Every woman thinks this and knows this as she walks past, which is mainly why things aren’t reported, because the female feels pity for the idiot, even though she is afraid and uncomfortable. Oh, and people like DICKHEAD ANDY, who make them feel like shit for reporting problems! Yeah, that really helps mate! (And if girls are giving you a hard time then I suggest you report the issue and put a stop to idiots instead of condemning someone else suffering the same thing!)

I threatened the man who threatened my daughter and I embarrassed and harrassed him as he did my little girl.
I’m NOT saying for a second that that’s the right reaction, but if reporting it is wrong, and ignoring them doesn’t stop them then what are we supposed to do? I certainly felt great satisfaction from tearing the prick a new one, and my daughter saw a woman stand up against it and administer justice right there and then. I dont care what you think of me for it, I’m 38yrs old and I’ve been ignorant and patient about it forever, but doing it to my little girl? Fuck no!

I later reported it to the building site company Medlock. I was honest with them about my initial reaction but they were still very supportive of me and disgusted that their company logo was being degraded by their workers. The men were condemned and the main culprit was swiftly dealt with.

Big plate of justice, and still probably better than going to the police…..


  1. quixote says

    Yeah. The police would be useless. But you were great! Your daughter is lucky to have such a mother. We all need to start fighting because the ignore button has not worked. At all. Women should shame the jerks, just as you did, and men should too.

    And of course it’s about power. It’s about flashing man cards at the lower caste. The excuse that the poor guy(s) couldn’t help themselves because they’re just so overcome with testosterone is the ego-stroking cherry on top of the shit sandwich they’re showing they can force you to take.

    Tangentially, isn’t it funny that when women are supposed to be unable to think straight due to hormones, it’s a reason to keep them barefoot, pregnant and behind the plow. But when men say they’re unable to handle their hormones, it’s because they’re so great. Riiiight.

  2. rietpluim says

    Well done, Alicia Thompson!

    @quixote #1 – When men say they’re unable to handle their hormones, it’s also a reason to keep women barefoot, pregnant and behind the plow.

  3. rietpluim says

    Wow, this really pissed me off: “It’s not worth getting into trouble over some silly little girl.” Translation: “The little slut’s not worth it. We’ll nail her when nobody’s looking.”

  4. says

    I threatened the man who threatened my daughter and I embarrassed and harrassed him as he did my little girl.
    I’m NOT saying for a second that that’s the right reaction

    She may not, but I would.

    So often women are insulted a second time after harassment with, “Well, if she hadn’t….”

    Turnabout is fair play. If the scumbag hadn’t harassed the woman and her daughter, she wouldn’t have given him both barrels and he wouldn’t have been reprimanded. And unlike his sexual harassment, her response was provoked.

  5. says

    Hey guys!
    I wanted to say thank you for your very honest and supportive responses to my actions.
    Since this incident, I’ve had days where I question what I did and feel bad about resorting to insults and violence against another human being. I did attempt to scale to the top of the scaffolding where the ‘big man’ was shouting but alas, it was fenced off and I could only shout abuse from the second tier I managed to reach underneath him. Had I have made it to the top, I know I would have smashed his face in, I was so angry, and for that I am grateful for not getting quite up there. I would have only ended up in trouble myself.

    Women are incredible people, always showing love and compassion even when they are so poorly treated, keeping their heads down and their voices quiet, even in the face of adversity, intimidation and mockery.
    I am in awe of every single one of them, and every day and I am amazed at the tolerance and resilience they continue to show in many areas of their lives where bad people are present.
    Women’s hearts are so incredible.
    I always wish to have their amazing Grace….
    I have a condition called PTSD (an anxiety disorder which triggers an adrenaline rage when feeling threatened or afraid – soldiers are more commonly recognised suffering this affliction), and on that day I was forced into a vicious reaction defending my child.
    I’ve always felt guilty and ashamed of myself when this reaction happens but thanks to many people on Facebook and your comments here, I’m able to feel a lot better about what I did.
    Many mothers have come to me and said that they would have done the exact same thing – it seems they all tend to find a whole new gear, which strips away their ‘niceties’ when their children are threatened.
    Theyve told me so many stories of how these great beautiful ladies fiercely protected their young in ways I never knew they were capable of! Wow!

    However, I was still feeling a bit remorseful about losing control and I said to my friend the other day “But I have a condition, I wish I didn’t react like that, I could have killed him! I really could have!”
    She replied ” But that’s the point isn’t it? Shouting and humiliating anybody is wrong! You don’t know where they’ve been, how they’re feeling, where they’re going, what they’re thinking, who they are….
    You should show kindness and respect to every stranger because you don’t know what they are dealing with.
    And if you pick on the child of someone who has PTSD, well then… It’s your funeral, asshole”.

    Wise words indeed (except the last part!), God bless her.

    People have been so kind and supportive of me thanks to Ophelia posting this blog. I can’t thank her, you guys, and everyone on Facebook enough.
    I’ve never been able to forgive myself for overreacting to certain situations but through this I’ve been able to lay one to rest and feel, for once, that I did the right thing.
    Much love to you all, keep fighting the good fight and may the children you have (or may have in the future) realise how lucky they are to have you in their corners.
    Thank you x

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