You’re walking in the street or the mall and you get men either asking you to smile or staring at you. Used to it? These small things are, whether we think it or not, sexual harassment.
A recent video showed a woman walking around New York streets for 10 hours and in the space of that time, received over 100+ forms of non-violent harassment.
Kat George who writes for Bustle.com says that:
“By the inherent nature of being a woman walking in the street, almost ALL uninvited attention from men is threatening. Women are victims of sexual violence EVERY SINGLE DAY, even in “liberal” cities like New York. Whether it’s a man jerking off on the subway, a stranger sticking their hand up a woman’s skirt (or worse, raping her) we hear stories of sexual assault on a near daily basis, if not on the news, then from the anecdotes within our social circles. Women feel vulnerable on the street, period. When a man interacts with her on any level she did not invite, it’s threatening, period. You can’t change that just by saying someone is being “nice”. Just because a man isn’t overtly saying “I want to fuck you in the ass and cum in your hair, bitch,” it doesn’t nullify the threat a woman feels.”
We can’t help but agree that women here in Malaysia suffer the same plight. We give you 5 things that do constitute as sexual harassment even though, you may not think it is:
We’re not talking about a fleeting few seconds when a man checks a woman out. Silently appraising a woman and following her with his gaze when she walks toward, by, or past a man is creepy. The power dynamics are totally different when it’s the other way around and makes a woman fear for her safety.
Singing songs and giving compliments
Here in Malaysia we’re all used to the sucky sound men make with their lips when a woman walks past. When a man starts singing a song loudly if a woman walks past they expect us to receive it as a compliment. Let us be clear, any form of unsolicited engagement from a stranger with a woman on the street makes a woman feel uncomfortable.
This kind of interaction on the street is also a reminder to a woman that she is being viewed constantly as an object. The implications of this are as follows:
1.Her worth is only valued at her ability to adhere to rigid, culturally imposed beauty standards.
2.She is an object and therefore cannot reasonably be expected to be treated with the respect of a full human.
3.The man “complimenting” her feels entitled to look at her, judge how she looks, force that judgment onto her, forcing her to internalize his view of herself.
4. And if he feels entitled to her in those ways, where does it stop? Where is the line of entitlement drawn? Maybe that’s as far as it goes with this one person. But how does the woman know? How does she know that he doesn’t feel equally entitled to have sex with her or beat her or kill her, as some men do feel entitled to do to women? The point is: She does not know. And that is why it is threatening.
Making a kissy sound with your lips
This has sexual connotations attached to it and for most women who are able to read between the lines, this is as good as a man asserting his sexual dominance over a woman.
Getting offended when ignored
Most of us think ignoring them will make it go away but for some men, they use a woman’s indifference as an excuse to behave even more badly and resort to more provocation and worse, verbal abuse and threats when ignored. Seeking a reaction from a woman is further harassment. A woman should be able to choose who she wants to interact with.
Asking a woman to smile
Men often think they’re doing you a favour by telling a woman to “smile” in the street. But guess what? A woman can do anything she well pleases with her facial expression, whenever she wants. Women NEVER tell other women to smile in the street. They never tell men to do it either. (Via: Bustle.com)