Written by Marianne Møllman for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.
Street harassment—sexual harassment of women in public—has gained notoriety in Western media since the start of the Arab spring. Most recently, a harrowing first-person narrative of a mob sexual assault of a Western woman on Cairo streets had an editor from The Atlantic
conclude that he would do anything to stop his daughters from going to Egypt and being exposed to that kind of abuse.
Unfortunately, research suggests that if you want to prevent your daughters from experiencing street harassment, you would need to keep them off the streets pretty much anywhere. The vast majority
of women from Indianapolis to Beijing have experienced street harassment at some point, including leering, whistling, and sexual grabbing or touching.
And though most street harassment definitely is less physically aggressive than the story from Egypt, it is anything but benign. Enough scholars
have examined the socio-political context and psycho-social consequences of street harassment to conclude that men harassing women in public is a symptom of the sentiment it perpetuates: women as inferior objects of prey.
I know what I am talking about, as does just about every women
and post-pubescent girl.