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Pillow Talk: Nip street harassment in the bud

Readers,

Apologies for straying from Pillow Talk’s typical format. It will be back next week. There is no question today because I wanted to give you something a little different for the beginning of Spring Quarter.

This quarter is most Ohio University students’ favorite time of year — winter is over, fest season is approaching and the oncoming warm weather promises porch parties, and tank tops will soon be back in style.

Unfortunately, something else usually comes back full-force with the warm weather, partying and influx of people outdoors: street harassment.

Most women you know have been victims of street harassment. More than 80 percent of women throughout the world will experience some form of street harassment in her lifetime, such as catcalls, sexually explicit comments, groping, excessive staring, stalking, public masturbation and assault, according to www.stopstreetharassment.com. Men can also be victims of street harassment, but the majority of harassment is performed against women and by men.  

This quarter, I have already experienced street harassment while walking to a friend’s house alone one evening. Yes, I was alone. The buddy system is best for anyone — male or female — but it’s also unrealistic to think no one’s ever going to have to walk alone.

Regardless, I walked past a group of men drinking on a porch off-campus. When I was in front of the house, the men began calling to me. I ignored them, but they continued making comments and giggling to each other until I was out of sight.   

These guys weren’t particularly threatening and didn’t even get that close to me, but I was afraid from the moment those men started speaking to me until I reached my destination.

Street harassment is scary, even if you think you’re being friendly — or funny or however else you want to justify your behavior — it’s not OK. It isn’t friendly and it certainly isn’t funny. I don’t know you, I don’t know how drunk you might be and I don’t know your intentions. I don’t feel safe in that situation, so I’m not interested.

What’s the solution to this problem? Stop drunkenly catcalling women from your porch — regardless of your intention, it makes you look like a douche. Please enjoy Spring Quarter, but do so in a way that allows others to do the same.

Mallory Long is a senior studying journalism and women’s studies. Ask her your questions about sex and love in the culture section of thepost.ohiou.edu, at postpillowtalk@gmail.com or follow Pillow Talk on Twitter at @post_pillowtalk.

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