Since moving to Chicago, I’ve experienced more street harassment than ever before in my life. I’ve lived in two different parts of D.C. (while working near or on the Hill), and two smallish Minnesota towns, none of which even compare. In all of these places, when I have been harassed, I know that I am not alone–not at all–that many, many (maybe all) women have experienced what I have experienced in these places.
A Shakesville contributor alerted us all to an ad on CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) buses for the new Tucker Max movie. It says “Deaf Girls Can’t Hear You Coming.” Not okay. (CTA now says they will remove the ads, but like Melissa, I’m not really sure what kind of half-assed vetting process got them up in the first place.)
Public places aren’t safe for women. Not safe when a very potentially triggering image makes it onto city property. Not safe when half of all CTA users have been sexually harassed. Not safe when bus drivers claim it’s not their responsibility to intervene when harassment occurs.
And it sucks, not only because actual harassment is so hurtful, silencing, degrading, but also because the threat of harassment is always there. I am not going to some friends’ housewarming party this weekend because I would have to spend time waiting for a bus in a part of the city that I don’t want to be in alone at night. I take a longer route to my boyfriend’s place to avoid a spot where I am consistently harassed. I go to a chain grocery store instead of the locally-owned organic place because the latter is in a strip mall where I have to run the gauntlet. I am rude to people asking for money on the street, people who really deserve to see a kind face once in a while (at the very least), because I cannot take being talked to anymore.
It makes me
crazy furious that I am not unique in this way, that this has happened to every woman I know, and every woman I see. But it also makes me feel less alone to know that we’re all fighting a common enemy. That’s why videos like this:
And amazing activists like these make me so proud, and so hopeful. But for now, I’ll leave this here, or it’ll be dark before I get back with the groceries.