Saturday 3 December 2016

COMMENT: I've lived in Dublin for more than a decade - a city that makes me afraid to walk home after dark

Street harassment and catcalls: the everyday sexism that keeps women in fear, writes Lorraine Courtney

Lorraine Courtney

Published 20/07/2016 | 02:30

Lorraine Courtney Photo: Mark Condren.
Lorraine Courtney Photo: Mark Condren.

Hands up if you've ever been followed down the street? If a stranger has ever commented on your appearance? If you've ever been groped in a club by somebody you didn't want to touch you? Told to "cheer up, love" by a random man? Every one of us has our own story to tell because street harassment has been around since women first dared to walk outside of the cave.

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These experiences are often too small, too difficult to react against in any meaningful way, too frequent to be bothered making a fuss about and that's what makes them so upsetting. Tackling the sexual harassment of women has never been a priority for the authorities but now, in a bid to finally crack down on it, Nottinghamshire Police is expanding its crime categories to include misogynistic incidents.

The force defines misogynistic hate crime as: "Incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman." This means that people can report incidents that previously were not considered to be a crime and the police will investigate.

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