Verbal harassment in the form of “cat calling,” can happen anywhere, and at anytime. Some may ignore it, even though it might make them uncomfortable. Below is another personal piece about verbal harassment in East Boston. If anyone would like to share their experience or their perspectives, please feel free to e-mail me your piece at email@example.com! My friend and I are sharing our experiences in order to get a dialogue started about this issue.
“Damn girl! You’ve got a fat ass! I would drag you into this alleyway and show you a real good time.”
Would you really drag me into the alleyway, though? Is that your way of flattery? Or is it a promise? This quotation is graphic, vulgar, and crude but it does not even compare to what we face everyday outside our door. Imagine swerving through sidewalks to avoid cat calls and shouting noises like mines in a battlefield.
Imagine walking home at night and being stared at the whole 30 feet as you approach a huddled group of men on a stoop who comment as you steadfastly walk by.
Imagine having to hide behind the nearest SUV parked so the window’s open, music blasting, upcoming car behind you can’t take a picture of you from behind.
I’ve had pictures taken of me from passing cars without knowing where they would end up or what that person would do with them. Although fully clothed and in public, I felt severely violated. I have not experienced the worst of it; my best friend was physically assaulted in broad daylight and in a busy area after first being verbally harassed. People walking around her during the incident failed to do anything to help, and failed to chase the man down.
Whether it’s someone yelling from a window of a house, car, from across the street, or even more scarily as you pass someone by on a sidewalk next to a dark alleyway - it’s frightening. Starting in middle school, we couldn’t walk outside our doorstep without being harassed. We have become conditioned to expect some sort of harassment to take place whenever we walk around East Boston. People say, “you should take it as a compliment” and at first it was kind of flattering. After years of cat calls, noises being shouted at us, and suggestive comments it crossed the line of flattery and became dehumanizing. Its always been a topic of discussion among girls and women of our age group, and we’ve always come to the same consensus that it makes us feel very uncomfortable. It’s gotten to the point where we can’t remain complacent with how things are, and to go on the offensive with this issue. When an individual verbally harasses you without being reprimanded, it creates a slippery slope of what is acceptable and what is not. After virtually dehumanizing a woman by shouting things at her, a line is crossed where she is now an perceived as an object.
Where is the line drawn? If we can start prevention at the very core of the problem, hopefully in the future no woman will become a victim of ANY type of harassment in our community.
Today I am gonna write about something that might bother some, but in the wake of recent news I thought it would be interesting to tackle.
Three women were sexually assaulted throughout the day Monday in East Boston, my hometown. The last attack occurred on my street. None of the women were badly hurt, however I am sure they were scarred by the attacks. Women are now being told to walk the streets with caution and be aware when traveling alone, but I am not sure if this is enough.
Ever since I was in 7th grade I have been verbally harassed upon leaving my house in East Boston. At first I was almost flattered, until I realized what was actually happening. These men were dehumanizing me. Making the same noises they would to call a cat or a dog over for a treat. Kissy noises. Grunts. The worst. The harassment did not stop. It has continued for the past 9 years to the point that I actually expect it to happen each time I step outside. It does not matter what I wear or how I look that day. One time while wearing a long sleeve maroon shirt and baggy sweat pants a man pulled his car up to me, rolled down his window and asked me how much. I was thirteen.
I have been stared at, followed home and practically stalked. The worst was the time in middle school when a man actually grabbed my behind in PUBLIC and in BROAD DAYLIGHT. I screamed and the man ran away, but the most horrifying part about that experience was that it was in a crowded area of town and no one went to stop him or see if I was okay. Not one person minus the friend I was with who had no idea what to do. I remember looking around waiting for something to happen, yet people continued on with their day. I have never wanted to leave East Boston more.
Thinking back, I should have called the police. I should have called the police on many occasions. But I was young, scared, embarrassed, and ashamed. I did not want anyone to know the gross and dirty things that have happened to me and that have made me despise this town. The more I talk about it now the more I know I am not alone. This happens to almost every single female around my age. Most people, like myself, ignore it. We pretend not to hear them because we don’t want to. We pretend they do not exist. While others, like my best friend, speak up and confront them. I believe the silence has gone on too long, almost giving them the okay to continue with their remarks and harassment.
It is time now to speak up.
Around 1.3 million women are physically abused by their partner each year. Alpha Chi Omega has teamed up with the "Love is…" Campaign to promote Healthy Relationships and bring awareness about Domestic Violence. Celebrate Healthy Relationships Week by posting a picture of what love is to you.
This week I have decided to rekindle my blog. Ever since I was young I have always been fascinated with the World Wide Web and computers, I still remember when my uncles brought me my very first desktop for my 4th birthday. I have since lost touch with my technical side, but never fully abandoned it.
Today I studied Tumblr theme tutorials, along with CSS, to create this new layout for this blog. It has been a while since I used HTML or any style sheet language for that matter. I hope to continue to improve on my skills, as well as grow as a writer.