New York City- otherwise known as "The Big Apple" and "the greatest city in the world." It's the city that never sleeps where there are people every where all the time, where you can have a great night out any day of the week, where you can witness some of the most quality art in the world, where dreams are made and chased. What's not to love about New York? Well, I can tell you one thing that, as a female New York resident, I do not enjoy: street harassment.
It happens in every borough and on any street corner. What sets New York apart from other places in the States is that you typically do some heavy walking if you want to get anywhere. Heavy walking equals heavy target practice. This comes in the form of both verbal and physical harassment as all of my female friends and I have experienced both. The ultimately sad part about this is nothing is ever done about it.
After hearing comments like these every single block, you eventually have to start thinking, "What can I do to avoid being harassed today?" You think things like, "should I pay for an Uber instead of walking to and taking the subway," "should I wear a coat or big shirt over this outfit even though it's 90 degrees outside," "should I wait to do this until a friend comes over," and "maybe if I look really angry or upset I won't be bothered." The unfortunate reality is that no matter what you do, what you wear or how you present yourself, you will inevitably be harassed.
Yes, we have freedom of speech, so yes, technically men do have the right to peg women with derogatory remarks. It's especially acceptable if it's on the street because it's not like it's in a workplace or anything, right? This is the mentality that people seem to have in the present day and that isn't fair. Women should not have to be afraid to venture past the comfort of their homes because men are not taught how to be respectable. This is rape culture bleeding into every day life and it needs to stop.
We need to be instilling the value of respect into the men and boys of the world, teaching them that commenting on a woman's looks in a less than decent approach is not the way to her heart and not the way to be an adequate human being. The norm that is the sexist dress code is seen in adult life as well, as for some reason females showing a bit of skin is deemed "inappropriate" and is used as means for defense of harassment. Females are therefore revoked of their own confidence and self-expression, because apparently males can't learn to pull the reigns on their increased testosterone levels.
I'm tired. I'm tired of being scared. I'm tired of feeling like I have to hide. I'm tired of no one listening. I'm tired of being tired. As a communal society, we must work together to change the views of women in terms of sexual objectification. However, that comes with time, so while we're waiting, why not do whatever you can to help? If you see a woman being harassed on the street, say something. Defend her. Or if that could potentially be dangerous, just ask her if she's okay. Let her know that she doesn't have to go through that alone.
Don't just stand and watch on the sidelines as harassment occurs. The reason we have to endure it everyday is because we're alone. We're open targets walking along arrow dominated streets. No one stands up for us and if we stand up for ourselves, we are scoffed at or met with abuse. In these circumstances, we need the aid of others. We need your help to stop harassment.