American Women 's Experiences With Street Harassment

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[Whistles] “Oww oww.” “Hey baby, how you doin?” “Come over here.” These words can be heard roaring over Ke$ha filled headphones, followed by cat calls that can be heard around the world. Individuals experience street harassment daily. Street harassment is any form of unwanted verbal or physical harassment sexual in nature. This paper will discuss American women 's experiences with street harassment. We’ll begin with looking at: Who street harasses? Why they street harass? And lastly, the desired effects compared to actual effects of street harassment? These questions will set up a foundation to view what street harassment says about larger society and the perception versus reality of gender-based harassment.

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However, for these behaviors to be deemed as street harassment perception by the victim must be in play (e.g. If a man were to catcall a woman walking down the sidewalk and she takes that as a compliment). In other words, labeling of harassing behaviors are only notable when the label is given by the individual being victimized (Wesselmann and Kelly 2010). In Everyday Stranger Harassment and Women’s Objectification, Kimberly Fairchild and Laurie Rudman (2008) conducted a study that finds significant rates of stranger harassment in college females; with around 41% of women involved expressing feelings of “unwanted sexual attention from strangers at least once a month” (p. 353). These results suggest that if women between the ages of 18-29 [the participants age range used] are being harassed by their male counterparts on a college campus, we can infer most women will experience some form of gender-based harassment at least once in their lifetime. With this inference it’s crucial that we continue researching who is street harassing and why. WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT WHY INDIVIDUALS STREET HARASS? The nature of street harassment allows men lack of accountability for their public actions. In fact, street harassing situations don’t just occur in the “street” they include numerous places such as bars, taxis, metros, and countless other venues women literally cannot flee from. Street harassment is shaped differently from traditional
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