Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Fredericksburgh VA, Jacksonville NC, Los Angeles, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Portland ME, Richmond VA, Rutgers University, San Francisco
Just the “regular harassment” one of the Hollaback!Brussels team members got today: Riding my bike to work. Driver in a van sounds the horn EVERY TIME he passes me. Which is several times. A bike is slow, but there are many traffic lights where the cars have to wait.
That’s it. You get that so regularly you don’t even talk about it any more? So do I. Does that make it right? Hell no. I won’t even react anymore if anyone sounds the horn at me. That means I won’t react either if someone really wants to warn me of DANGER – you know, in the way the horn SHOULD be used. I was told by random guys that my jacket was about to fall off my bike when it was NOT, just because they wanted to get my attention. Guess what? The next time a guy tells me the exact same thing, and I don’t stop, and my jacket DOES fall off, gets into the spokes of the tire and I fall down, he’ll call me plain stupid because, you know, HE TOLD ME, right?
Do I feel the urge to stop at the traffic light, put my bike into the car/van driver’s way so he won’t be able to move his vehicle, and tell him off? Yes, of course. Am I doing it? No. I don’t want to get in trouble because of endangering road traffic. If I give him the finger, he’ll laugh at me or start insulting me. If it’s a private car/van, I cannot even call the company in order to submit a complaint. I’ve got no means to defend myself.
And that’s the bottom line of street harassment: a power game. You know what? I get reminded every single day why I’m doing Hollaback.
P.S.: If anyone knows about an efficient way to react in this situation: Please tell me. I’m open to any suggestions.
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