WOMEN

Woman's Powerful Letter Exposes How Frightening Street Harassment Can Be

The catcalls made her question her "own value as a person."

A woman captured the fear that often comes with being catcalled by detailing her many experiences with street harassment in a single night.

In a letter to The Irish Times that seems to have resonated with many readers on social media, Jenny Stanley described what it was like going home on a Saturday night in October around 10:45 in Dublin. She wrote about the "wolf whistles" she received at the bus stop.

It began with one group member looking directly into my eyes, pointing at me, turning to the others and announcing, "I fancy that one." That "one". To which another member replied in agreement, suggesting what he might like to do if he got me home. To which another added further details to this imagined scenario in which I was an object with the sole purpose of fulfilling their desires; details which filled me with pure white rage and, if I am honest, questions around my own value as a person.

Stanley wrote that she then decided to go to a different bus stop, "dodging and ignoring" as she walked. She noticed many women doing the same and wondered why they didn't respond.

I thought to myself, "Why don’t we say something back? Why don’t we tell them that we deserve more than to be objectified in this way? Why don’t we explain why we respond to their 'compliments' of how attractive we are with a stare of distaste rather than the gratitude they so clearly feel entitled to?"

In the letter, Stanley wrote that she realized the answer to the questions she posed was "resounding fear and intimidation." She also described getting off the bus later in the night and seeing men make inappropriate gestures toward her. When she finally got home, she cried.

I knew then that just because I was home it did not mean it was all over. I too am exhausted, not only for myself but for those who have had and will have similar experiences, and the innumerable amount of men who do value and respect women and anyone who believes that gender should not influence a person’s right to be viewed as an equal in the eyes of another.

Reminder: A catcall is not a compliment.

Read the entire letter over on the The Irish Times.

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