Initially, I wasn’t going to write about the street harassment video controversy. I felt there were enough articles that summed up my feelings on the subject. But I was recently moved by blogger Carol H. Hood’s story. In her article, “I Was Taught To Be Grateful For Catcalls,” Hood eloquently writes about the specific impact of street harassment on black women. Because we occupy two identities that are degraded under white supremacy, black women are frequent targets of violence from white men/men of color.
“The truth is that women of color are disproportionately affected by street harassment — often, we’re victimized not just for being women but for being Black. I’ve had men of all races ask me to ignore harassment from Black men for the sake of Black male lives, while Black women are abused and even killed for being Black and woman.” https://medium.com/the-archipelago/i-was-taught-to-be-grateful-for-catcalls-b37bc462d85c
There are two cases that illustrate her point. First, is the disturbing murder of Mary “Unique” Spears. Spears had politely turned down a man who asked for her phone number. The man kept harassing her until her partner intervened. It was then Spears was killed.
“According to witnesses, the man’s advances would not stop. Reportedly, when the group finally decided to leave at 2 a.m., the man grabbed Spears and hit her. Spears’ fiancé got physically involved, and a fight broke out. That was when the stranger pulled a gun and fired into the group. Spears was reportedly hit once, and then tried to run. While she was trying to flee, that was when a bullet hit her in the head.” http://crimefeed.com/2014/10/detroit-mother-three-shot-killed-stranger-rejected-advances/
And the alarming abduction of Carlesha Freeland-Gaither caught on surveillance video.
“Carlesha, 22, was abducted by an unknown man on Coulter Street near Greene just after 9:30 p.m. Sunday. She was returning home from visiting her godson and had gotten off a bus a few blocks away when her abductor approached her on Greene Street and pulled her down Coulter Street to his car.” http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20141105__Just_come_home.html#Yoi7AKm0uJJeec3s.99
There has been speculation Gaither’s abductor is someone who has been obsessed with her. Another man who refused to take no for an answer. I pray that this young woman is found safe.
It’s disappointing that so many men don’t take the issue of street harassment/violence against women seriously. Men are bemoaning “I can’t even say hi to a woman anymore,” while women are worried about dying/getting snatched off the street. Which issue is more important? I hate to break out the rhetoric of asking men to think about the women in their lives (mothers, daughters, sisters, etc.) and if they would want them to be stalked, harassed, or physically harmed. I’d rather go with the quote: “men should be against violence of women, not because they have mothers, sisters, etc., but because women are human beings.”