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How to deal with street harassment

Street harassment is an issue that affects all genders. It’s not just a woman’s problem, and it doesn’t just happen when you’re wearing skimpy clothing or walking alone at night. Street harassment can happen to anyone and any time of day and in any type of attire.  In the United States, about 65% of females report having experienced street harassment with most incidents occurring before age 17 (National Sexual Violence Resource Center). This includes everything from catcalling following someone down the street while making lewd comments. Being harassed on the street has been shown to make people feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or embarrassed (Stop Street Harassment). The National Institute for Justice reports that “victims may be reluctant to go out in public places where they might be targeted.

Here are 10 things you can do to stop street harassment:  

1. Wear headphones and listen to music

2. Carry a can of pepper spray or mace

3. Don’t walk alone after dark

4. Keep your head up and don’t look at the ground

5. Create an emergency plan with friends for how you’ll get away from a harasser, such as “I’m going to cross the street now”

6. Report incidents of harassment to authorities so they know what’s happening in their community

7) Tell them to leave you alone;

8) Act like they’re not there;

9) Say “no” clearly and firmly;

10) Make direct eye contact with the harasser and give him/her an angry look as if to say “don’t mess with me”.