Dear Men of Boston -
For the most part, I don’ t have a problem with you. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life we pass by each other on the streets, smile, nod our heads in acknowledgment and move on.
That isn’t the case for everyone. I’m lucky. This is my only interaction on the streets. For my female friends, this isn’t the case at all.
At least once a week, a female friend of mine takes to Facebook with a similar situation – being cat called, gawked and/or physically touched by random men on the streets.
Let me run down a list of things to never do when you see a woman walking down the street -
- Call her Baby, Sweetie or Doll.
- Talk about her body.
- Stare at her body.
- Call her body hot or phat or anything, actually.
- Touch her, grab her or put your arm around her.
- Whistle at her.
- Mention her clothing.
- Ask her where she’s going.
- Ask her her name.
It doesn’t matter what they’re wearing, how they’re smiling or how attractive you think they are. It doesn’t matter if you’re drunk or sober, just joking or being serious. There is no look, no expression, no eye contact, no mini-skirt from anyone that warrants you harassing them.
If you are so unlucky to be near me when you do this to another person, you can expect all 6’3 of my awkward self is going to come down on you like a ton of awkward, angry bricks. I may not be physically imposing, but you can bet I’m going to be in your face like a ridiculous and angry honey badger.
It’s time we start calling this behavior out. Let men know it’s not okay to demean and harrass women. Tell perpetrators it’s wrong and why it’s wrong.
And if you don’t think this is a problem in our city, I suggest asking your female friends, co-workers and family members if they’ve ever felt victimized while walking down city streets. The stories of street harassment are as disgusting as they are eye-opening.
If you want to know how you can help, I suggest visiting Hollaback!, an organization devoted to stopping street harassment. And when you’re done doing that, I suggest you saying something when you see and hear it on the street.
It’s time to be an active voice. I hope you join me.