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Last year, a friend of mine moved from D.C. to Philadelphia. After a year in Philly, she noticed something odd: “I don’t get street harassed. At all. Ever.” She writes:
So I’ve been in Philly close to a year now, and I’ve noticed something here that I wanted to talk to you about: I don’t get street harassed. At all. Ever. I know it does happen here, I’ve heard stories from lady friends, from dudes with girlfriends, on the news. However, I’ve walked around a lot of different neighborhoods in shorts, skirts, and tank tops here and no one has ever said anything to me. Like, I’ve walked down the sidewalk towards a group of men, braced myself for a comment, and then not even gotten a “hello.” It is awesome.
I’m sure it has a lot to do with the fact that a) Philly is super affordable and I spend most of my time in relatively safe, middle-class areas and b) I drive a lot more often than I walk or take public transit. But still, in DC you get comments in all neighborhoods, and even when driving I would get guys pulling up next to me in their cars and saying shit. Not here.
Anyway, so I think this might be why you get so much resistance when you write about street harassment. Outside of DC it’s uncommon for men on the street to proposition you or touch you. I can see now how someone wouldn’t understand how a “compliment” can be threatening—-it just doesn’t happen in most other cities. Have you heard this from anyone else outside DC? Any idea why?
So: Has anybody else lived in an area that’s seemingly devoid of street harassment? Um . . . any vacancies?
Photo via the Library of Congress