How to // Deal with Street Harassment

via thenewagenda.net

Street harassment is unfortunately very common, and most women experience it at some point in their life (more than 80% worldwide according to stopstreetharrasment.org).Often dismissed as "just fun" or "boys being boys", it can be really intimidating and upsetting for someone to approach you or make comments in the street.It's definitely a feminist and human rights issue as it is objectifying to women and takes away our right to be outside comfortably and without fear.When men go outside alone it's fine,but when women do it they are told to "be careful".I'm going to share some tips with you on how to safely handle street harassment.

*Of course there is a big difference between compliments and street harassment.It's your call on what makes you uncomfortable.*

What is Street Harassment?

  • Unwanted sexual comments
  • Stalking
  • Leering & groping
  • Indecent exposure & public masturbation
  • Catcalls (whistling and remarks etc..)
This list isn't exhaustive,but these are the most common forms.Street harassment is basically any unwanted attention that you receive that invades your personal space.It is disrespectful,unnerving and can often have a huge effect on your emotional state. 

Top tips for dealing with Street harassment

1.Your safety always comes first.Don't approach the person if you feel at risk,walk away.

If you feel you can approach the person;

2.Project confident body language.Stand tall,look the harasser in the eye and speak in a loud,clear voice.Show them that you are self assured and not scared (even if you feel uncomfortable.)

Some statements that you could use are;

"Stop doing x/y/z"
"Stop harassing women.We don't like it"
"This man is doing x/y/z" (call them out to others and make them feel embarrassed by their behaviour.)
"Doing x/y/z is wrong/disrespectful.Stop" (Let them know you will not tolerate this.)

3.Speak in a neutral yet assertive tone as that will project confidence and not antagonise the harasser.Don't swear or become angry as this could make the person respond negatively.

4.You have the power to completely ignore them if you want to.You don't have to answer their questions,and you can decide when to end the dialogue,if you want to call them out.

5.If you want to,you can report any incidences to your local Police Depot.If the harasser was in a car or had an obvious uniform on,you could take down their registration number to pass on to the Police, and/or report them to their employer.

I hope this has helped you feel more confident in dealing with uncomfortable situations,and remember your safety and well being always comes first! Only do what you feel comfortable with,and of course there is no right or wrong way to respond.I know it can be frustrating but by reacting appropriately,we can make sure that they get the message and that we remain safe.

Have you ever encountered street harassment? Do you have any tips?


  1. This is a fab post and I cannot stress the first point enough, it's ALL about judging the harasser - there's no point in confronting them if you feel your safety will be compromised. I've felt confident in calling someone out if I've been harassed in a public place, especially if there are other women near me, but I'd never pick a fight if I were on my own.

    Having grown up in east London, I'm so used to unwanted catcalls and comments, but that shouldn't ever be something that women are "used to".

  2. I'm sure it must happen lots in a built up city area.It's a shame that so many women have to experience it.I agree,first impressions are usually always right! It's great that you were able to call them out. xx


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