Street harassment can be a real pain, and is a very pertinent problem even in many of the first world countries. Life is hard as it is without desperate men ‘looking to attract your attention’ while you’re on your way to work in the morning or coming back home in the dead of the night. While there isn’t any direction solution to purge street harassment from society, there are a few things you could do to make people think twice before doing anything remotely uncomfortable to pedestrians.
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Here are 9 steps you can take to address the cancer that is street harassment:
1. A calm response
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This is a tough one, but it should be #1 on your list of reactions to someone harassing you. Tell me politely that their actions discomfort you, and that it counts as harassment. Many fumble like idiots at this point, and immediately begin to apologize. Voicing your opinions in a calm manner is more effective than you might think.
2. Do not be the typical bystander
Most harassment happens because people let it happen. People have this tendency to not want to get ‘involved’, as it would somehow harm their status and spoil their day. Don’t be that person, and support those in need.
3. Hand them a flyer
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This is one of the more unusual ways of tackling street harassment, but it works just as well. Speaking can feel extremely awkward and even scary depending on the situation. In these cases, hand your harasser/harassers a flyer explaining harassment. Check out cardsagainstharassment.com for more info.
4. Call the authorities if needed
Contrary to popular belief, the police are also law enforcers. Just take your phone out and dial the number while the perpetrators begin to plead and do their begging. The aftermath of this is, no one will attempt to harass anyone in that particular locality ever again.
5. Anti-harassment apps
There are plenty of anti-harassment apps like ‘Hollaback!’ which can aid in safe travel. However, these depend on the user base density of your location. Choose an app that best suits your city and ask your friends to use the same. This might just help you out in the direst of conditions.
6. Make a scene
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This should only be used as a last resort, but don’t feel weird about making a scene. Attract the attention of any passer-by. When serious harassment does happen, the harassers tend to isolate their victims. Do not let that happen, and try to attract people’s attention.
Open discourse is probably one of the most important things to do when dealing with harassment. Making sure that future generations understand the importance of personal space, and how nobody is entitled to someone else’s body or their time. The world would be a safer space to live in if the older generations made this mandatory.
8. Have a heart-to-heart with victims
Tying up your resentments and traumatic experiences is probably one of the most mentally damaging things one can do to themselves. Besides, the best way to truly understand street harassment is to talk directly to the victims.
9. Set up anti-harassment communities
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Nothing can do more against street harassment than setting up a local anti-harassment community. Do not make it a ‘women-only’ community, because fighting back harassment shouldn’t be the task of a single sex. Work together as a community and make your streets a safe space for women to walk through confidently without having to fear random men walking up to them like they’re an ice cream van.
You’re not helpless, and you lose the moment you think you are. Contribute to society by putting an end to this stubborn menace, and secure a better future for yourself and others.
Featured image source: npr