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Unfortunately, I’ve had to deal with a lot of street harassment over time and I know how frustrating it can be. It’s an intimidating, infuriating experience that can actually have a real effect on your mental health. Even if it’s someone shouting something that they think is complimentary, for example something sexual, it’s not a nice experience. These are the ways that I’ve learned to deal with street harassment.
Think about how sad those individuals must be.
Imagine actually being pathetic enough to walk down the street and shout something nasty at someone. Imagine how unhappy you must be for someone harmless to provoke such a reaction in you. Imagine feeling satisfied when you see someone get intimidated or look upset because of your words. Hopefully you’re a decent person and this isn’t something that you can imagine. These people are pathetic and you’re automatically better than them if you’re horrified by street harassment. Try to find comfort in that fact.
Having no reaction is my personal way of dealing with street harassment, but I realise it might not be for everyone. I think you should figure out whatever reaction works best for you but this is me sharing mine. When someone says something to me I make this face. I tilt my chin up and I don’t look at them. I carry on doing this until I’m safely away from the person and because I’m so tall, it works. I know some people may believe that it’s important to fight your corner, but I don’t think you’re dealing with rational people in this particular situation. I don’t know if you’ve ever argued with an irrational person but it’s the opposite of a rewarding experience. So I’ve decided to save my breath for people that I believe will listen to me.
Channel that aggression.
Most likely, you’re going to be angry when someone shouts at you on the street and suppressing that anger is toxic. Try your best to channel it into something. For me, I generally channel it into my writing or my other projects but sometimes I just rant to my friends about it. I focus on making an account of the story that’s engaging and when I meet my friends, I tell them all about it. Usually by the end of a rant, I can relax and get on with my day.
Don’t wonder “why me?”
Don’t try and analyse why these people would possibly target you. As I’ve been saying over and over, these people aren’t worth your time or your headspace. There is nothing wrong with you and you should be allowed to walk down the street without receiving harassment. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, but blaming yourself or trying to fit in more is only going to have an awful effect on your mental health. I’m at the point where as odd as it sounds, I’m a tiny bit flattered by street harassment. I’m provoking a reaction in people who are insecure and unhappy and I think that must mean that I look secure and happy. And I am secure and happy, and no pathetic person on the street can affect that.