There’s a conversation that’s been brewing lately. I’m not sure if it’s a conversation that’s been been getting louder and reaching a tipping point, or if I’m just getting better at listening and being more aware. The conversation is about street harassment.
On a near daily basis, I hear stories from friends about inappropriate comments and catcalls from passersby. These friends are invariably angry, upset, scared, or fed up with this perpetual demeaning treatment. These friends are exclusively women. The cat-callers are exclusively men.
When these stories come up, in the ensuing discussions, women share their similar experiences, show empathy, and discuss potential strategies for combating street harassment and improving their general safety.
Then the inevitable happens:
“Just take it as a compliment.”
“It’s only harmless flirting.”
“You should be grateful for the attention.”