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Two days in a row now I’ve logged onto to Facebook and read about two of my friends being violently harassed on the street by men they did not know while others simply looked on.

Like many of us who have experienced street harassment, these women were merely moving through their city (both happen to live in New York), minding their own their business when they were accosted and berated for not wanting to be bothered.

Yesterday, one friend rode the subway and was reading a book when a man asked if she would read to him (huh?). She politely declined, but the man, now upset, argued he was just “trying to be a gentleman” and proceeded to call her a slew of ugly names. Their encounter continued as he ranted about “females” who “call the cops when we beat the shit out of you and rape you.”  Their horrific interaction finally ended when he got off at his stop, but not before kicking her on the way out.

The second incident occurred when a stranger harangued my other friend, a lawyer, after asking for money to get a burger. Like most people, she shook her head and kept walking, but that wasn’t good enough for the man. According to my friend, he followed her for a block, calling her nasty names and yelling about how no man will ever want to sleep with her.

These two incidents are not unique. In the comments section of both status updates, several women shared their own stories of being harassed—more than a few times—in public by men they did not know while others simply watched. The stories were painful, scary, and sadly, familiar.

I’ve written extensively about street harassment in the past, and inevitably, some men argue that if women would just be polite, respond respectfully, or smile, they could avoid being screamed on in the first place.

But we know this isn’t true. No matter how sweet or cordial you are, some idiot will go off on you when you deny his request for a dollar, your number, or to read to him on the subway (I’m still asking, WTF about this one).

If street harassment is to end, we need MEN to put a stop to it. Or as one of the women said on Facebook, “Men need to check men for this sh-t. And most don’t.”

So how can men put a stop to street harassment?

First, stop feeling entitled to a hello—yes, even if you’re a nice guy. No matter how charming or cute or “together” you may be, no one is obligated to speak to you, at all.

Next, if a woman doesn’t return your advances (or acquiesce to your requests) keep pushing. No need to get in your feeling or reach into your misogynistic bag of tricks. Just keep walking; she wasn’t the girl for you anyway, right? Right.

Finally, if you see a man (including your boys) harassing a woman SPEAK UP. Tell him to chill, protect her damn honor, and remind him that she is a human being worthy of respect. Don’t just sit back and chuckle while a stranger badgers a woman on the street. I mean, would you let someone treat your mother, sister, daughter, or aunt like that? I didn’t think so.

Fellas, street harassers are giving you a bad name and it’s time for you to do something about it. If you see a woman being harassed, say something, it’s the least you could do.

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  • Anthony

    As a man who has a position of respect (professor at a university) I am in a position to check young men on campus. I could do the same with young men from my church. I would be more careful dealing with some of the fools I see on the streets! Some of those brothers need to have the police turned loose on their butts since they have no manners.

  • Why?

    Why on earth would a man stick up for a woman he doesn’t know being harassed by a man he doesn’t know in today’s society? I’m not being facetious. I’m asking a serious question. Give me one good reason.

    The shaming tactic of bringing up men’s mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, etc is weak and irrelevant. Men have no problem defending and protecting the women they know, love, and care about with their lives. Some strange woman walking down the street is just that, a stranger. You are NOT included in that protected class. Being born with a vagina does not afford you blanket protection by men. Who really has an unfounded sense of entitlement?

    The paradigm of society has shifted and there is no going back. The entire concept of chivalry is nothing more than benign sexism and misogyny. The socially transmitted behavior patterns we label chivalry are an offshoot of patriarchy, which women despise and want to see destroyed. Therefore, chivalry is dead. Equality and chivalry are mutually exclusive propositions.

    Men not swooping down to save you is equality in the truest sense of the word. That is what women fought for, and that is what you are seeing today. Men see women today as equals.

    And as equals, men don’t owe women jack. No stranger of any sex owes another stranger jack. You are fully functional, autonomous human beings capable of making your own decisions. The protection of public safety and social cohesion is the job of law enforcement, not Joe Blow walking down the street minding his own business.

    Now is it right or fair that women have to deal with street harassment? No. No one should have their personal space and humanity violated and be subjected to verbal and physical abuse. But unfortunately the world isn’t fair. A-holes exist in all sizes, shapes, sexes, and colors. Their sole purpose in life is to ruin your day. That is who they are. That is what they do. It is your personal responsibility to protect yourself.

    Men know this and are minimally prepared to protect themselves from threats because there is no expectation of help from others. I suggest women take the same steps to protect themselves, because no one is coming to the rescue this time.

    • SuperXtar

      You tell em!! Truer words have never been spoken!

    • erica

      it’s called being a decent person. i guess some people are just born without empathy.

    • Catarina

      Who is talking about chivalry?

      We are talking about decency. MEN like YOU harass women they don’t know on the street.

      They do it because they are MEN.

      They feel ENTITLED to do it because they are MEN.

      You, as a man, should do something to stop your fellas. Unless you are like them.

      I think you are.

  • Besa Acua

    they don’t.

  • SuperXtar

    I hope you ladies are happy now…. a woman was getting robbed in Detroit and a man tried to save her and he was shot to death…Happy now?? The gal is off living her life and having fun and the poor guy is D E A D. Hmmm I wonder if she even attended his funeral…lol

    • Catarina

      I’m very happy. Thanks for the happy news.

  • TOM STEEL

    OO BABY I JUST LOVE THIS,,PUSSY SPINLEES MEN WHO HAVE TO MAKE HOT AIR EXCUSSES IN THE FIRST PLACE. YOU JUST DONT GIVE IT A SWEAT,BROTHER CAUSE IF MY ASS IS WALKIN I SEE A GAL OR A PUSSY NO SPIN PUNK GETTING VERBALY BANGED ON I AM THERE. BUT IF I LOOK UP WHILE I AM DROP KICKING BIG MOUTH YOU BETTER NOT BE WATCHIN. CAUSE YOUR SMART GUY…I KNOW THE REAL THING AND YOU DO. AND IT ANT YOUR MOUITH THAT FIXES IT ITS YOUR BALLS ,,DAME PUNK ASS MF

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