40 (Un)Justifiable Reasons To Sexually Harass Me On the Street


  1. I’m wearing too much makeup
  2. I’m not wearing enough makeup
  3. It’s Sunday
  4. It’s Tuesday
  5. I’m walking too quickly
  6. I’m walking too slowly
  7. I’m too pretty to not let you enjoy a piece of it
  8. I’m not pretty enough to occupy the space marked “female”
  9. I’m wearing boots
  10. I’m wearing flip flops
  11. I haven’t let you have sex with me before
  12. I’m not letting you have sex with me right now
  13. I won’t be letting you have sex with me in the future
  14. I’m in a public place after dark
  15. I’m in a public place before dark
  16. I’m looking at you
  17. I’m not looking at you
  18. I’m with a friend
  19. I’m alone
  20. I’m talking on my phone
  21. I’m listening to my ipod
  22. I’m holding a green bag
  23. I’m holding a purple bag
  24. I’m in a new neighborhood
  25. I’m near my home
  26. I’m a virgin and you can tell
  27. I’m not a virgin and you can tell
  28. I’m dressed up
  29. I’m dressed down
  30. I’m wearing an engagement or wedding ring
  31. I’m not wearing an engagement or wedding ring
  32. I’ve seen you before
  33. I haven’t seen you before
  34. I’m smiling
  35. I’m not smiling
  36. I’m frowning
  37. I’m not frowning
  38. I’m feeling something that I’m not expressing on my face and you don’t have any way of knowing what it is
  39. I’m lost
  40. I’m not lost

Or more likely, you just believe that you own me.

That you are entitled to my attention. You believe that you have a right to my body. You believe that as a woman, I owe you whatever you want whenever you want it. You are insecure in this belief, and so you feel the need to assert it. To assert your power and privilege over me in a space that belongs to men and in which I have no right to be unless it is on your terms. You believe that you are superior to me, and that I do not have the right to choose when and where and how and on what terms we will engage.

You believe that you have little to no control over yourself and your body, and ergo any behavior in which you engage is the direct result of my manipulation of you. That if I want to maintain my privacy and my control over my own body and my own life, then it is up to me and me alone to defend it. Because I should expect to be bothered, interrupted, attacked, or violated.  It is not about me and whether or not I am a woman and whether or not a woman is a person, entitled to the rights of other people. It is about the world and how the world is – how you created it, for yourself and for your fellow mankind.  And since it is neither my space nor my place, I should expect no rights, no privacy, and no respect once I am in it.

And if, as a man, you find yourself uncomfortable or not in full agreement with any of the statements above, then mind your own business.  Do not ask me how I like that book, just to entrap me in a conversation with you. Do not leer at me, tell me to smile, ask me why my boyfriend doesn’t travel with me, or whistle honk and yell at me.

In short, leave me alone. I’m on my way somewhere, I’m thinking about something, I’m engaged in my own world and my own life.  And it has nothing – nothing – to do with you.



This post is originally published on Left Standing Up.  It is cross-posted with permission.



photo credit: king of monks via photopin cc

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  • Rashmi Bajaj

    How true.women all over globe have so much of similar experience-agony n anguish.and desire to live a life of dignity n freedom.A woman too can hav her own life ,ownworld

  • vmann

    so true. keep as far away from this woman as you can…..don’t even look at her so that she can be… within her right.

  • Nola

    I so agree! This stuff just pisses me off, whenever it happens I really want to kick such men in their special places, or just beat them up to a Rammstein song like this , just so they know. Maybe that would make their brain function right.