Stacy (young_raven) wrote,

Why We Speak

This weekend, I was telling a friend about a "someone is wrong on the internet" argument I got into a while back, with the friend of a friend who was saying, nay, INSISTING that women were foolish to be alarmed when someone approached them in public to offer a compliment. Despite the fact that at least two dozen women (myself included) told him that we found being approached by strangers on the street to be less than pleasant in most circumstances, despite the fact that many of us had stories of street harassment to share, he continued to assert that he was right, we were wrong, and he would continue to "compliment" women whenever he felt like it. The kicker? The man was gay.

My friend questioned my willingness to argue with strangers on the internet. Was it really worth my time? That question banged around in my back brain for almost 36 hours when I realized exacty why those arguments ARE worth my time.

There may have been little chance that this man might change his mind, but every woman in that discussion who spoke up empowered other women (and men, too!) to speak out against street harassment, to share our experiences, and to know that we are neither wrong nor alone in going alert when a stranger approaches us in public. Some of us have had experiences that make such encounters downright fearful. Every time this guy asserted we were just being paranoid, there was someone to counter that accusation. And other men in the conversation Got It.

I'm willing to spend my time speaking up for the people who are listening. I'm speaking up to spread the courage given to me by the women who have spoken up for me when I couldn't.
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