Learn to fight back eve teasing in 3 steps
We asked our Instagram followers if they had ever been eve teased. 81% agreed, while 19% disagreed. We also inquired about the countries where eve teasing was prevalent. We received an overwhelming response from people all over the world, from the United States to Zambia, Germany, and Australia. Same story, different place. The lived experience of a girl when she was 15 years old, which she shared with us on Instagram DM, is what ultimately compelled us to write this article.
She wrote, “It was the day after my 15th birthday, and I was working at this local coffee shop that was a few blocks from my house. I was wearing a pair of black leggings that went down to my ankles, a light blue oversized t-shirt and my Birkenstock Sandles. On the way to the coffee shop, I passed by a bar and grill place, but people mostly used it for the bar. A few guys on my way back whistled at me and said things like, “Hey girl, love the outfit.” And “bet it would look better on my floor.”
And things like that, and when I ignored them, they started to get mad and say I was a bitch and a slut for wearing that kind of outfit. Luckily for me, these other, very much less drunk, guys come out and see/hear what these men are doing and start to yell at the other men, and I was finally able to walk away. It was really scary because I was only 15 and I had heard stories of things that started like that and got way worse. I’m very thankful to the men that came out and practically saved my life. “
What would have happened if those men who stood up for her hadn’t been there? What would have happened if this act of street harassment had turned deadly? Therefore, we decided to write this article about what to do if we find ourselves in a similar situation.
Let’s start by stating that there is no right or wrong way to respond to eve teasing. You must learn to hear your own voice. What does your gut feel like? You comply if it instructs you to smile and keep moving. You walk quickly if it suggests you gaze down and keep walking. You can also try the alternatives below if you feel secure enough and have decided to react.
1. Set Boundaries
Make eye contact with a firm voice and strong body language. It will surprise your harasser. “It tends to work well because then they’re too shocked to retaliate,” says Holly Kearl, founder of Stop Street Harassment and author of “Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming For Women. “It forces them to think about what they’ve said or done.”
In a steady, loud and clear tone, tell your harasser that his or her behaviour is not okay. Try negative statements like, “No, leave me alone.” “I don’t appreciate it.” “What you’re saying is disrespectful.” “Go away.”
Keep moving after you’ve made your point and made those negative statements. Don’t let the harasser think it’s an opening to a conversation.
If the harasser follows you, make a fake phone call and say, “Yes, I have reached.” Where are you? “ or “Oh, you’re already here; I’m at so-and-so location, reaching in 5 minutes.” If necessary, dial the emergency number and contact the police. Don’t put it off.
Another thing to keep in mind is to resist the urge to curse. Cursing can frequently backfire. “While it may work in some cases,” Kearl says, “this type of reaction is the most likely to elicit an angry and violent response from the harasser.”
2. Involve the Bystanders
After carefully examining the situation and determining that it is safe to respond, you can directly request that bystanders intervene, which is to say, begin talking loudly to the harasser, repeating the words he said to you, and expressing your disgust loudly. Attract the attention of those around you. When they see other people getting involved, the harasser will often back off.
Take out your phone and take pictures of everything around you. Take photos, record videos, record the license plate of the car, and document everything that surrounds the harasser. Many people find it empowering to turn the camera away from themselves and toward the person harassing them. It frequently has the potential to be extremely transformative. If it feels right to you, go ahead and do it. Because it does not work for everyone, ask yourself, “Does it feel right for me?” or “Is there another way to respond?”
You can also request that a bystander record videos for you. There is no shame in seeking assistance. It is a sign of strength, not weakness.
When the ordeal is over, remind yourself that there is no such thing as an ideal response. You did your best in that situation. It was not your fault, and now is the time to heal and look out for yourself. What you can do is as follows:
1. Tell someone you care about your traumatic experience.
Discuss everything with your loved one. Speaking is therapeutic. Don’t let it sink in without completely curing it. You can also choose to share what happened on social media to alert others.
2. Acknowledge, accept, give yourself time, and then try to move on.
This is the only way for you to recover from what happened. Instead of trying to run away, accept and acknowledge. Allow yourself enough time to process the entire event. Tell yourself REPEATEDLY that this was not your fault. Then, learn some affirmations to regain control and gradually return to your daily life.