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Thursday, June 27

How to Combat Street Harassment

It's summertime! As much as we all can enjoy the warmer weather, there's one thing that comes with the heat that is not so inviting (and no, not just frizzy hair.) It's street harassment. All women that I have met, and most likely all the ones that I haven't, have dealt with street harassment in one form or another.  What is it? Well, it could be any of these acts:

· Comments about someone’s appearance, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
· Vulgar Gestures
· Sexually Explicit Comments (e.g., “Hey baby, I’d like a piece of that”)
· Leering
· Whistling
· Barking
· Kissing Noises
· Following someone
· Flashing someone or exposing oneself
· Blocking someone’s path
· Sexual touching or grabbing (e.g., touching someone’s legs, breasts or butt) - See more at: http://chicago.ihollaback.org/ive-got-your-back/#sthash.remzBtm7.dpuf

While I've endured some cat calls and comments every year, I'm fortunate enough that I haven't dealt with anything worse like groping or following. This morning, some lard-o on a bench got a little graphic with me while I was at a stop on my bike. (See: "Pervy Mime" below) I'm sick of "enduring" it. I thought the best way to combat street harassment was to ignore the person, swallow my embarrassment, and go about my day. It was my amazing (and feminist) boyfriend to told me to "fuck that!" and not endure it any longer. He sent me these hilarious illustrations via the Stranger:

If only I could burp on cue! I'm considering coughing, maybe even snotting. 
This happens all the time in the neighborhood where saki is located. If they actually stand around long enough, I am totally doing this.
Sound advice! (Keep reading below to learn more)

While I appreciate this one the most, combating harassment w/ harassment might not be the best. 

That last one is a true story, and luckily those group of guys left her alone once she scared them off with her Jesus-freakiness. Though there is a chance that it could've gone very, very wrong. While all of these are frickin funny, the best way to combat harassment is to straight up tell the person to "stop harassing me." If they touch you in anyway, call 911 immediately. When I posted this story to Facebook, our long-time super awesome intern Nina pointed out this national website's Chicago page: http://chicago.ihollaback.org.  Which I didn't even know existed. It made me feel just a touch better that I have options now instead of just "dealing" with unwanted comments if I decide to wear a skirt that day (which is most days!).  

Happy Summer, ladies! Be safe out there...

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