Streets: Harassment

Recapping the week in Street Harassment

Content Warning: Discussion of sexual harassment and sexual assault

‘If you wear a skirt like that you are asking for male attention’ Quote from recent street harassment incident.

How about, it doesn’t matter what as a woman you are wearing, if I’m wearing a skirt you think it’s alright to point that out in defence of your indefensible behaviour. Incorrect. It’s not me wearing the skirt that is the problem. The ‘But What Was She Wearing?’ project calls out this kind of thinking by posting images of women in what they were wearing at the moment of harassment, and their story of what happened. So many incidences in a woman’s life include harassment in so many different outfits, the times when she was wearing a skirt/revealing clothing and it happened have nothing to do with this wider pattern of repeated predatory behaviour. However because we want to think that we live in a just world where we can control what it happening, it is easier to say it happened because she was wearing a short skirt and men can’t help but respond to that. It is easier to the point that if as a woman this happens to you, you’ll try and combat it by agreeing with this thinking as then perhaps you can control it not happening again, by not wearing that short skirt again.

Why don’t I buy some drug alarm nail polish, some rape preventative jogging shorts,  and call myself protected already.

I’d like to reference Responding to the Challenge of Rape Myths in Court by the amazing Nina Burrows. If you search for it online you can download her report and she has many free online resources, find some here.

‘In a meta-analysis reviewing data from 28 studies Whatley (1996) found that victims who wore revealing clothing or were judged to be less respectable were significantly more likely to be held responsible for instances of rape.

29.2% of the participants agreed that women wearing tight tops or short skirts are inviting rape, indicating that a significant minority of the public are likely to attribute responsibility for rape according to the behaviour and demeanour of the victim.

Many of the myths around rape focus on blaming the victim for the vulnerable state in which they allowed themselves to get in. These myths rely on the power of hindsight and ignore the influence that the offender had on events.

The recent research finding that the most common misperception about rape is that rape is about sexual desire (McGee et al., 2011) suggests that jurors may be heavily relying on their own personal experience of adult sexual relations in order to understand rape.’

The perception that street harassment and rape are the victim’s fault is beginning to be examined. We’ve seen that people are beginning to question the ‘innocent’ remarks that men make to women in the street in terms of what their motives are, what the intent is, and there’s been much debate over why telling a woman you find attractive to have a nice day isn’t just a nice thing to say to her.

Some of this was sparked by the below video, although this video has been questioned on it’s integrity as the white males were edited out of the footage due to poor sound quality. This has been questioned and the issues the videos raised looked at from many perspectives, here’s an overview from Jessica Valenti. 

In response to the incredulous response of some men (#notallmen) one man, Elon James White, started the hashtag #DudesgreetingDudes, as a way of challenging the assumption that there is nothing threatening/intimidating/unnerving about the ‘compliments’ men assume they are giving when they invade a woman’s time and space to tell her to smile.

The Stop Telling Women to Smile, feminist art project

The Stop Telling Women to Smile, feminist art project

From telling someone that they should smile to telling someone they are looking to get raped, we are now at Dapper Laughs. Please be aware the footage of Dapper Laughs does invoke threats of violence against women and shows examples of victim blaming, aggression towards women, congratulating men on their aggressive attitude towards women, advice on how to intimate women:

Another man who has been termed the Rape Guru, is the next step on from Dapper Laughs as he advises men on techniques in strangling women. Please sign this petition to prevent him coming to the UK for a platform for this misogynistic bullshit.

Can we take some time out to sign this petition which responds to the song ‘Literally, I can’t’. Apparently this is a satirical track that mocks sororities, OR it’s an aggressive example of how comfortable society feels telling women to shut up and take their clothes off. See below for amusing response to tired situation.






The Stirred quad is formed of Rebecca Audra Smith, Anna Percy, Jasmine Chatfield and Lenni Sanders.

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Posted in Anna Percy, BeccaAudra, Feminist thinking
One comment on “Streets: Harassment

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The Stirred team at Reclaim the Night Manchester 2015
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