What’s being done about street harassment in Belfast?

May 9, 2011

I was walking homeward along a busy road (end of the day, commuters were returning home) just round the corner from my house when my shopping trolley malfunctioned. As I stopped and turned to examine it, I heard a loud roar from a car next to me – it actually sounded exactly like a dog, so when I looked up and saw that it was a man hanging out of the car window doing the roaring, I was really shocked.

It happened very fast, and the traffic column was both moving his car away from me and obscuring his number plate, so I just walked on, not realising how upset I was until I turned into my street and my way was briefly obstructed (not that they did it purposely) by election canvassers. They were for the party I support and when I saw one who was female and about my age I stopped her and asked about the party’s policy on fighting street harassment.

I got very upset at that point; it all just hit me. She was really great, and I ended up talking to her and her older female colleague for ages – I explained how my partner and I had been violently assaulted in our street a year ago and that incidents like the one with the guy in the car brought it back. We talked quite a bit about crime victims’ experiences with the policing and justice system (ours had been bad), about local crime etc., and while I was very shaken by what happened, I felt glad that I’d raised the issue with them and it’s made me think about ways there might be of bringing people together locally to highlight the issue of street harassment and the fact that it shouldn’t be tolerated.

– Anonymous

Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland

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