Street harassment is a trigger for rape survivors

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.

– AH

Location: Everywhere

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.

3 Responses to Street harassment is a trigger for rape survivors

  1. asafertwe says:

    Thank you for sharing that with us. I am, too, a survivor and have felt the same way. I really appreciate you for sharing this and that this was posted.

  2. AH says:

    Thanks for your response, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has felt this way. It’s unfortunate that any woman is subject to street harassment, but I think for survivors there are additional issues because it can be so triggering.

  3. trickygirl says:

    I am also a survivor and feel exactly the same way. I am a strong-minded, independent, intelligent woman but I still feel that sense of utter and terrifying powerlessness you mention whenever a man leers or makes a comment at me in the street – it can be incredibly triggering for me, particularly as I am still working through the damage caused by being raped. Thank you for posting this, I feel less alone in my reactions to such harassment.

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