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Sexual Harassment

Dear Amy,

I'm 14 years old, everytime I walk outside I'm constantly being yelled at by men in cars, hearing ''kissy'' noises, and experiencing unwanted sexual comments and gestures. In some cases, I'm followed. Going out in public is, and has been a very scary task for me since I turned 13. I will avoid going out in daylight all together just so I don't have to deal with these disgusting men. I've asked family members and friends what to do and they tell me to ignore it, but since many more girls and women deal with the same problem, I think it shouldnt be ignored any longer. It may not seem to be a big deal to most people, but I think it's a growing social issue that is unacceptable and inappropriate by all means. Its even more ridiculous that grown men utter these comments to minors/young women. I would just like to know if this behavior is legally acceptable. If so, how I can I make this issue more recognized and taken more seriously, is there anything I can do to take action against it?. I don't want to be afraid of walking down the street anymore.

Victoria

 

   

Dear Victoria,

You are right to be outraged -- and alarmed.

Street Harrassment is one of those problems that really doesn't have a great solution because what it requires is the harasses to just stop doing it.

A few years ago this film maker Maggie Hadley West did a documentary on this subject and she would turn the cameras onto the harasser and ask "why" -- why are you doing this? What makes you feel entitled to do this? I think that tactic, even without a film is a good one -- as is just ignoring them. Making any other comment usually comes back to haunt you because they know you are annoyed and try to use that. It's gross, but oddly it works.

I hope that you can find a solution that works for you.

Good luck,

--Amy

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