Commuting While Female Hashtag Demonstrates How Dangerous A Woman's Daily Commute Can Be
It's no secret that commuting as a woman is a starkly different experience from commuting as a man. Research has shown that the vast majority of women have endured street harassment at some point, and as Huffington Post's commuting while female hashtag shows, few reach adulthood without amassing at least a few stories about being followed, groped, catcalled, or otherwise harassed in public. I have some doozies of my own: Once, I was walking to buy a smoothie when a man motioned for me to take out my headphones, told me I looked like Katy Perry, and proceeded to follow me to the juice bar while loudly appreciating my body. Another time, I was training for a race when I felt a tap on my shoulder that made me jump three feet in the air — a teenager had dropped his basketball to chase me down the street as I was running. Of course, no discussion of harassment would be complete without mention of The Leer, that quick once-over virtually every woman can spot from across a subway platform.
The Huffington Post recently gathered nine women's experiences with harassment while commuting, and their stories drive home just how disturbing such encounters are. Most people are aware that street harassment occurs, especially after Hollaback's infamous video documenting a seemingly endless stream of harassment in New York City went viral in 2014. Since then, it's a common topic of discussion online as more and more women have taken to the Internet to speak out about harassment in public spaces. (It should be noted that some men experience street harassment as well, especially those in the LGBTQ community.) However, there's a world of difference between the theoretical knowledge that women run the risk of being catcalled, groped, or stalked on their way to work and being forced to confront the uncomfortable details.
The Huffington Post's piece struck a chord with readers, who used the hashtag #CommutingWhileFemale to recount their own experiences with harassment on their daily commute.
The details vary, but each story serves as a reminder that when you're a woman, no public space is truly safe.
In a culture that normalizes the dangerous objectification of women, openly discussing harassment is one of the few ways to fight back. To read more women's stories, head over to the Huffington Post's article or check out the #CommutingWhileFemale hashtag on Twitter.