45-year-old man leers at 14-year-old girl

July 30, 2010

This happened yesterday. I’m a guy in my mid thirties from Delhi. I was standing in a store, waiting for the counter boys to be free from the earlier customers awaiting my turn. This young girl aged about 14 was standing in front of me. She was dressed in dark shorts, which weren’t too short and a red tee which covered everything.

This middle aged man walks in, and while he’s standing in the store he looks the little girl up and down again and again. I felt like giving that old man a tight slap across his face, but did not want to create a scene in the store. After a while they left, but the incident left a very bad taste in my mouth.

That man was about 45 plus and the girl not a day over 14. Now I wish I had slapped that old man!

– Tbg

Location: Delhi, India

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Include your location and it will be added to the Street Harassment Map.

UNICEF addresses “eve teasing” in Bangladesh

July 29, 2010


I’m so pleased to hear that UNICEF is tackling the huge problem of eve teasing/street harassment in Bangladesh!

Recently they helped organize more than 600 people for a rally in the Narsingdi district of Bangladesh to speak out against eve teasing. With local groups they helped organize parents, community members and adolescents in Narsingdi for a motivational workshop aimed at protecting adolescent girls. UNICEF and its partners also are working to create awareness by establishing and supporting local adolescent groups called ‘Kishori Clubs’. The clubs allow girls and boys to learn to socialize in positive ways and they participate in activities that empower them to become agents of change.

(Watch the YouTube video of the march and Kishori Club)

Via UNICEF’s website:

“At the workshop in Narsingdi, adolescents from a local Kishori group presented a play that explored the negative impact of Eve teasing and suggested ways to prevent it. The powerful performance reflected the strong opinions of the young people involved.

”I have a friend. A boy used to tease her,” explained performer and Kishori Club member Marzahan, 13. “But after we staged this play at our school, the boy began to understand. Our teachers also taught him about the damage that Eve teasing can cause. Now he is friendly to everybody and he doesn’t tease any girls anymore.”

Shohagh, 13, another club member, is among the boys who believe the time has come to take action on Eve teasing. “Girls need to have access to education and be able to live healthy lives,” he said. “They should be able to enjoy their rights.”

Fantastic. I love how they are taking a preventative angle rather than just telling girls to not go out at night or to ignore harassers. That doesn’t work, but education, dialogue, and prevention do.

12.14.10: Here’s another news story about this problem that looks at it across the past year.

The winner of the free book is…

July 29, 2010

Woohoo! We’ve got a winner! 30 people entered their names in a random drawing to win a free, signed copy of my book Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe & Welcoming for Women (out Aug. 30, 2010). One of my twitter followers @Sebhar is the lucky winner!

How can you read the book if you don’t win?

  • You can pre-order the book on Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com. It will be available Aug. 30.
  • My publisher mainly distributes to libraries, so look for it at a library near you.

I’ll be doing another drawing on Aug. 30 to celebrate the book release, so enter then and maybe you will win!

Long hair = lewdness, short hair = rudeness

July 29, 2010

I submitted the Lucky Charms story the other day, and I feel what happened to me today fell in line with what I mentioned with having short hair equals being “ugly” to harassers.

I was really late for work and had overslept, so dealing with that was enough and I wasn’t in the best mood.

I get off the bus at the stop near my job and a homeless man who I’ve seen for the first time yesterday (but who didn’t bother me) was outside again. To everyone else he’s all, “How ya doin’? Spare a little change? Have a nice day!” but when I walked by it’s, “What the hell?! Ugh! Ugly!” and he started making gestures with his hands as if he was “pushing” me to get out of his sight.

Nothing I’d done warranted his nasty comments, so I had to speak up.

“You don’t say rude things to women who are just trying to walk by and get about their day,” I said. “If you want respect, you’ve gotta show people respect. I did nothing to you for you to talk to me like that.”

He got loud and obnoxious and started cursing at me, all the while still trying to put up the facade that he was a nice, harmless man simply wanting some change by saying, “How ya doin’?” and complimenting people who walked by. He was trying to make me the bad guy, and I wasn’t going to give him that satisfaction. I also made sure to get a few photos of him. He turned around and hid his face a few times, so I was lucky I got some shots of his face.

“Why you takin’ my picture?” he asked.

“Because you were rude to me for no reason,” I said.

When he got too obnoxious for me with his cursing I called MPD. He tried to run and hide at the Starbucks, but when I said, “He’s going into Starbucks!” to the dispatch, he walked right out. He tried to walk up the street, but when I mentioned on the phone where he was going, he returned again. Then I thought he was going to chase me so I ran, but relaxed when I saw he stopped. All in all he ended up standing right back where he started and went back to panhandling. Then he tried to act like he was being “nice” to me by telling me, “How ya doin’?” in this sarcastic tone, but I wasn’t falling for it.

I couldn’t wait around to see if the police came, but I hope they did. Of course, my job doesn’t care that I was harassed on the way to work (I informed them that I was late and that I was outside calling the police) because I was late. So I have the stigma of being late to work and the stigma of once again being harassed on me. Great.

As I said before, I’ve been ridiculed (when I do get attention, since the attention I’ve gotten from men on the street has decreased greatly since I cut my hair short) by men who think short hair is masculine. I cannot figure out how changing my hair has drastically changed how I get treated. While I am grateful I no longer get the lewd sexual attention that I used to with long hair, I am not grateful that that lewdness was replaced with rudeness. I feel that black women’s femininity is stereotypically defined as having light skin, being thin and having long hair, and since I no longer have one of those things I no longer “count” as feminine to certain men. I’m glad I’m secure enough in myself to know my value and worth as a woman, but it doesn’t help me feel better about what I went through this morning.

– Anonymous

Location: M Street & Wisconsin Avenue, Georgetown, DC

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Include your location and it will be added to the Street Harassment Map.

“Stop frowning, smile goddamnit!”

July 28, 2010

Doing my shopping after work in Little Five Points. I still had on my work uniform, and it was incredibly hot. I have to walk from the train station to the district, and by the time I finally reached the store I wanted to go to, I was sweating bullets.

As I’m approaching the doors to this shop, two men are standing on the street. The sidewalk is narrow, and while these men don’t block my path, they will be fairly close to me as I pass by. I walk past, completely in my own world, until the bald-headed one yells at me, and I’ll quote, “Stop frowning, smile goddamnit!” His partner started laughing.

And I tried not to let that get to me. I left the store 30 minutes after finding a great pair of jeans and the men were gone, I got a great studded purse after leaving the district…but every time I think about this, I get a hot spasm of anger.

Second story submitted to this map, but yeah.

– Jaleesa

Location: Atlanta (Little Five Points), GA

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Include your location and it will be added to the Street Harassment Map.