Last year, catcalling went from an annoying reality of the urban woman's commute to, arguably, the biggest women's rights issue of the decade, thanks to a viral video called "10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman."
Yet, for many women, the sexism persists — the only difference is now, they refuse to take it lying down.
Earlier this week, Dublin resident Jenny Stanley penned a letter to Irish newspaper The Independent to recount the sexual harassment she'd faced just a few nights prior.
She was waiting at her bus stop late one Saturday evening, trying to ignore the groups of passing men and their “wolf whistles, comments on my physical appearance and 'hellos,'” when one man said something that made Stanley recognize her own vulnerability.
It began with one group member looking directly into my eyes, pointing at me, turning to the others and announcing, 'I fancy that one.' That one. To which another member replied in agreement, suggesting what he might like to do if he got me home. To which another added further details to this imagined scenario in which I was an object with the sole purpose of fulfilling their desires; details which filled me with pure white rage and, if I am quite honest, questions around my own value as a person.
Stanley admits that she was scared and felt “powerless” as a lone woman facing a group of aggressive men. So she left — and as she walked, she noticed countless other women wearing the same facial expression she was: One of frustration and fear — but also resignation.
Stanley asked herself why she doesn't speak up, why we don't all speak up, why anyone allows this aggressive, degrading male behavior to continue.
The ever-growing nervousness in my stomach gave me the answer to my own question; resuonding fear and intimidation ... I am too exhausted, not only for myself but for those who have had and will have similar experiences, and the innumerable amount of men who do value and respect women and anyone who believes that gender ghouls not influence a person's right to be viewed as an equal in the eyes of another.
Stanley's full, powerful letter appears in the October 19 issue of The Independent. Read it here.