“I exist beyond being an object to be gazed upon”

On Saturday I suffered street harassment for the third time in two months.

The first time I was walking in the street one afternoon, minding my own business. A stranger cycled past me, leaned over and shouted, “Ugly!” I shouted back, “W@nker!” but I felt humiliated, and intruded upon. I was enraged – it is not my duty to decorate the street for the benefit of passing men, I exist beyond being an object to be gazed upon. That man knew nothing of me, but still felt perfectly entitled to pass loud judgement upon my attractiveness, and worth.

The latest incident happened again as I was walking home, this time after dark. I passed a couple, male and female, they heckled me, pointed and laughed and started singing, “Who let the dogs out?”

This is the second time this month that song has been sung at me in public. I feel totally humiliated. I cancelled plans to go out with friends this weekend because I don’t want to put myself in public situations where I will be looked at and judged. I feel my confidence is totally ravaged.

After thirty years of being called ugly, or “plain,” even by my own father, this doesn’t get any easier.

– CE

Location: North East England

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Find suggestions for what YOU can do about this human rights issue.

3 Responses to “I exist beyond being an object to be gazed upon”

  1. Pedestrienne says:

    Forkin’ ‘eck, my heart went right out to you, CE. I have genuinely thanked my lucky stars a million times over that when I do encounter street harassment it’s usually carloads of people who shout incomprehensible things to me. I’m endlessly glad of the incomprehensibility.

    I cannot say enough how utterly wrong their behaviour toward you is. Wrong, maddening and baffling.

  2. Clarice says:

    CE I am so sorry to hear about these incidents and of the harassment you have had to endure in the past. It really does strike me at how incrediblely cruel and unkind some people can be. I often get called out on over my weight and theres nothing worse than feeling that you have to change things to avoid being harassed or to even change yourself so that you wouldn’t get critisised. I am on a diet and joining a gym because im unhappy with myself and because i’ve had enough of hearing snide remarks from people. No one deserves to be harassed whether they are ‘attractive or not’ and that includes you.

  3. friday jones says:

    Beauty is in our actions rather than in our appearances, but the real ugliness seems to be located in the vocal apparatus of the vulgarians. I hope that you don’t let the loud opinions of fools impede your activities.

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