I recently moved to Kensington, on the west side of Melbourne, from Richmond.
I’ve been out of the house only a few times since then, jogging, going to the supermarket, train station etc., and I’ve already been honked at twice.
I haven’t been honked at for awhile. I think the last time was in Craigieburn (an outer suburb north west of Melbourne) when I was going to the dentist. (I don’t mean to be classist, but could it be a telling sign that this kind of thing happens on the west side. Is it too late to renege on vacating my old apartment?) Or maybe it was back in my hometown in country Victoria.
It was about 6:30am on a summer morning so it was already quite light and I wanted to get my jog out of the way before it got too hot. There’s a lake near my mum’s house, and there were ducks all over the bridge. There weren’t many people around—pedestrians or drivers—but some hoon came around the corner, saw me jogging, and decided to show off, revving his car. I looked back because he was heading in the direction of the lake, but he must have thought I was looking back at him, which only encouraged his sophomoric antics, and he sped off, right into the congregation of ducks. After he was gone, I went back to see if he’d hit any. He had. With such velocity that the body of the duck was on one side of the bridge; its sack of internal organs on the other.
Street harassment is not only juvenile and sexist, but a danger to animals, too!
CLEO’s latest issue has a feature on this very phenomenon.
It runs with the premise of the website Hollaback, which got its start in New York City in 2005, and charts areas where women most experience street harassment. You can also upload photos of offenders, who are monitored for repeat indiscretions.
The article, by deputy features editor Rebecca Whish, also asks if kicking up a stink over street harassment is “an overreaction”. According to 12% of CLEO readers polled, they feel flattered when yelled or honked at on the street.
While I don’t feel offended when men leer, honk or yell at me (with the exception of animal endangerment and pure objectification by friends/coworkers), I don’t particularly see it as a compliment either. The type of guys who do these things aren’t the type I’m seeking compliments from. If anything, it’s more about having the right to go about your daily business without being harassed while doing it.
Is that too much to ask?
Elsewhere: [Hollaback] Homepage.