Sexual harassment violates you and it violates the law. You
didn't cause it. But you can get it stopped.
"Your legs must be tired cause you've been runnin'
through my mind all day."
"If I could rewrite the alphabet I'd put "U"
and "I" together."
Ever heard these? They are popular lines used on commercials
on TV by men to pick up women. They seem harmless and funny on
TV but in reality how do they make women feel?
Sexual harassment comes in many forms. It happens to all kinds
of women, in all types of jobs, in every level of the world.
Studies show that as many as one-half to two-thirds of all working
women and some working men have experienced sexual harassment.
It is a serious problem in Canada and many other countries.
Although there are many types of harassment, some are very
obvious and others are not. The kind that bothers me the most
(well, maybe it bothers me the most because it's the only kind
that I've experienced) is the obvious kind. It makes me feel
dirty to be ogled by gross men who don't have anything better
to do than harass innocent women.
Some men consider it flattering and I guess that some women
do too. But I know that when faced with a carload of drooling
hooting men staring at them, most women cringe. This kind of
"flattery" has lead to all kinds of new fears amongst
women. They fear walking alone, won't park in underground parking
lots, and worry that what they wear may provoke harassment from
males. I never get into my car without checking the backseat
for an intruder first. If I'm going out alone, I'm very conscious
of what I wear so that I don't draw undue attention to myself.
Still when I'm at the mall walking to my car, I can feel someone
staring. I turn to see a middle-aged man. He winks at me, or
maybe blows a kiss and I feel scared and violated.
I'll never understand why men do this. I would rather have
someone come up to me and say "you look nice." Who
wouldn't? If you're a male who contributed to this form of harassment
to women, stop and think how you would feel if someone did this
to your mother or your little sister or any special female in
What We Must Do:
- Respect NO when you hear it. A woman is more likely to be
raped by someone she knows than by a stranger.
- Believe women when they tell you it happened to them.
- Improve the legal system so that women who are raped are
not victimized a second time when they appear in court.
- Give personal contributions and support increased funding
for the Rape Crisis Center of Planned Parenthood, Alternatives
for Battered Women, the YWCA and organizations providing services
needed to deal with the painful, long-lasting consequences of
rape and battering.
- Teach your daughters to identify incidents of violence in
their lives. Girls shouldn't have to experience sexual harassment
at school, accept date rape as expected normal male behavior,
or be victimized by sexual abuse from family members, friends,
religious leaders, teachers and others they trust.
- Lobby for tougher legislation concerning violence against
women: stricter stalking laws, harsher penalties for rapists,
removal of the statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases.
Insist that our legal system and law enforcement agencies protect
women from abusive partners.
- Support pay equity for women and support removing present
barriers that create a gender-segregated work force. On the average,
women earn 75 cents for every $1 men earn. This economic inequity
helps to keep women in abusive relationships with partners, bosses,
- Provide widely available, accessible and affordable self-defense
courses for women and girls in our community.
- Let radio, television and night club owners know that you
object to singers, talk show hosts and comics who use anti-woman
materials. Organize to remove topless bars and adult movie theaters
and bookstores from your neighborhood.
- Remember women who have lost their lives because of violence
- Challenge men to recognize that violence against women is
a men's problem. Men must assume responsibility for this violence
and organize to stop it.
- Insist that any task force or group working in our community
to end violence include violence against women as a priority.
- Let your neighborhood video store know that you will only
rent films from a store that does not have a little back room
with films depicting the brutalization of women.
- Tell your convenience store owner that you will shop elsewhere
if they carry pornographic magazines.
- Refuse to buy books from booksellers who include a shelf
of male "entertainment" and buy instead from responsible