“I find wolf whistling offensive and intimidating”

**trigger warning – street harassment**

Wolf whistling is a very strange behaviour; I can only assume that the reason behind it is to catch the attention off a passing stranger and to demonstrate that you find them attractive. This is obviously quite a primitive technique and in reality actually makes women feel degraded; like a piece of meat. The individual who has wolf whistled has made a judgement about your attractiveness based purely on ‘checking you out’. For me personally this makes me feel extremely angry, my purpose in life is not to be an ornament for men to look at, pass judgement on and then make an animalistic sound at. Surely we have evolved much further than that?  Now some people will argue that this is all harmless fun, it’s a complement, just a way to demonstrate that you are interested in getting to know the individual more. However, I have never know anyone to have hooked up with an individual due to being wolf whistled at without feeling intimidated and degraded in some way.

Although those who do wolf whistle at passing girls may feel that they are not doing anything intimidating wolf whistling is just one of a number of things that happen to girls in the street all of which elicit the same kind of response. For me this is genuine fear. I have made a list below of some of the street harassment I have experienced on a regular basis. When I say regular I would say that at least one of these things happens to me at least once every 2/3days.

Being clicked at, kissed at, people licking their lips at you, making obscene gestures at you, shouting things at you, shouting offensive things such as slag or whore, attempting to embarrass you/make you blush/down grade you, making your feel uncomfortable, taking extreme pleasure in making you feel scared, following you down the road in the car, asking for your number, walking next to you, stopping you going to where your trying to be, following you to your destination, grinding on you in the middle of the street, hugging you, touching you inappropriately, trying to hold your hand, jumping out at you, slapping your arse, refusing you let go of your hand until you give them your number, asking you for a blow job/hand job/fuck and the enactment of these scenarios, trying to kiss you, pulling you close to them, trying to undo your clothes, touching themselves, exposing themselves, surrounding you in a group of men, touching you inappropriately, stroking various parts of your body, trying to make you go with them somewhere (through verbal or physical means). I’m pretty sure you can see where this is going, I’m not going to talk about rape or sexual assault as this isn’t the place but it is easy to see that these acts escalate and for many women they have experienced any, all or a some of the above. It is no wonder then that a wolf whistle sends shivers down people’s spines, a genuine fear of what will follow or what the wolf whistler is going to do next.

Because these experiences aren’t a rarity and more often than not women have had experiences where they have been scared for their safety and in some cases their lives, from the women’s perspective there is no difference between a wolf whistler and someone who will go that next step. For women wolf whistling is not a compliment it is a signal to remove yourself from that situation or become tense and prepared to defend yourself.

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