I think it’s so important to hear from women around the world regarding street harassment, so I’m cross-posting this piece from a woman in Nepal via Booksie:
“A woman walks down the street and then a man she does not know makes an obscene noise or gesture. Either she retorts or ignores him and walks on. Is the story same to the events that you have to go through? What do you do to fight the street harassment or you just let it go. I am writing to all the readers whoever relates to me and to all the people who have once a while made an attempt teasing a girl or making a passerby awkward. I don’t deny that even guys can be the victim of street harassment but because I am a girl I can exactly tell you what it feels like.
Some of the men (as some men are ones causing street harassment) do not realize their actions feel like harassment to women. For those I have something to say. Treat women with dignity and respect. Ask yourself, “How will my mother, sister, spouse feel if treated in the same way?” If you have a good reason talking to any unknown women, address her with smile or decent language. Do not address her with whistle, honk or kissy noises. The way a woman is dressed does not show if she wants to be commented on. She may be dressed up for special events or specific person. Never follow a woman without a good reason like: she dropped a wallet and you are trying to return. If you see others doing it, refuse to join and discourage others from doing so. At a suitable time, raise the issue about public harassment with your friends and explain why it is inappropriate to treat people that way.
There is no any ‘best’ way to response the harasser in every circumstance. But at least we can put effort Making Street safer for us. Stand for yourself and speak up. Be instant; don’t regret later for doing nothing. If any security person is around you, seek for the help or ask to the people nearby, they might lend a hand. You should use a strong body language. Use statements not questions. Like, ‘do not touch me’ not ‘will you please leave me alone.’ Sometimes strong stare is stronger than the words, so it might help you. It’s obvious that we cannot find mirror image every time we walk on the streets but it is possible to fight for what we believe in. All I am trying to infer is that if someone has done harm to your dignity even in a small way, fight it back, and take a step.
Lalitpur, Kathmandu Nepal.”