Street harassment from the perspective of a rape survivor:
Sometimes when I express my anger at street harassment, at my inability to move through public spaces freely, I feel as if I am dismissed. Other people, both men and women alike, tend to minimize it, saying, “Why let it bother you? It’s not that big of a deal.”
But I am a rape survivor, and for me, it is a big deal.
Every time I am harassed by men on the street, I am re-victimized. From leering, catcalls, and comments about my body, to stalking and groping — they all reduce me to an object. Not a person, but a thing. Something to have power over. All of these forms of harassment are triggers for me. They all induce the same sense of powerlessness, the feeling of invasion – they all take me back to when I was raped.
I know I am not the only one. There are so many other survivors, like me, who every day are forced to relive the experiences of their rapes by men on the street. Street harassment IS a big deal. It perpetuates the society which allows men to treat women as objects, to have power over them, to assault them, to rape them. Street harassment is sexual assault, it is sexual violence, and we must work to end it now.
I am not an object, and I will not be silent.