Friday 18 August 2017

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

Lorraine Courtney

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.

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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