The best examples, off the cuff, are the honking vehicles as they drive past you, or the leering men who say comments about you under their breath as you walk past - only ever whilst you're alone mind. There are varying degrees of how bad these sorts of experiences get and, of course, some are minor niggles, whilst others can be borderline illegal. The worst one I was victim to recently was when a man attempted to grab me by the arm in a shopping centre, and then proceeded to follow me and cat-call me, luckily I was walking with enough purpose to avoid him getting any real purchase.
The point is is that they happen ALL THE TIME, and I don't feel I'm exaggerating. As a girl/woman, since the age of around 13 or 14, I could say it was normal. Despite this, for some reason, no one questions it! It is standard behaviour. What's worse, is that a lot of people (most of my guy mates actually) don't get what the problem is, even stating that "it should be a compliment" *que puzzled male face.
This is where EverydaySexism.com, The Everyday Sexism Project, comes in. It's a website where women, and men, can share their experiences of verbal and physical abuse, like mine above, no matter how big or small. The aim is to provide a collection of stories to highlight to the world that this is happening, and it is a problem, and women, or men, don't in fact take it as flattery - shock horror.
"Street harassment has been an invisible problem for a long time. We've almost resigned ourselves to it and, as a result, I think there's been a massive normalisation of this behaviour, whereby it's just accepted as part of our culture."Laura Bates, founder of The Everyday Sexism Project. Source taken from the Emerald Street article.
It's difficult to pin-point why people do this, especially as they must know we're not going to flush and jump into their arms. I believe elements of it are about intimidation, about power and also about possession over you in some way.
"Women who resist harassment are often sworn at or told to 'cheer up love' in an attempt to make them feel that they are responsible for the abusive behaviour when they're not. The responsibility is with the perpetrator." Joanne Creighton from domestic violence charity Respect. Source taken from the Emerald Street article.
IT HAPPENS TO MEN TOO! Don't just think I'm an angry, narrow minded feminist. Men are victims, by cause of women. In the overall argument for equality, it is always frustrating to combat the doings of men when women think they can turn round and dish it out. It kind of brings the whole effort back a step. Everyone needs to realise that people do the things they do (mostly) not just because of their gender, but because of how they are as a person and an individual.
So whether you're a man or woman, please support the cause and share your stories. The Twitter hashtag is #ShoutingBack.
Let me know your views on the situation. Do you agree, or am I in the wrong? Please explain your opinions, I am genuinely interested in knowing the other side of any argument and welcome all discussions!