This Woman’s Response to Street Harassment Will Inspire You

No matter how young or old, mundane the situation or extraordinary, women are sometimes subjected to undeserving treatment from the other sex. Personally, I’ve been verbally attacked by random men on the sidewalk and have had inappropriate and obscene comments thrown my way. When I was younger, I was sure that I was doing something to invite these attacks or showing off the wrong type of body language. As I’ve grown up and have shared my experiences, I’ve learned that I’m not alone, the men who perpetrate this type of behavior are responsible for it, and it was not my fault.

Poet Vanessa Marco performed this above poem at the 2014 Women of the World Poetry Slam as a response to a man who asked her a very inappropriate sexual question at a bodega. Her powerful words are inspiring and poignant, and while her entire poem may be too long of a come-back for an every day situation, her attitude is one we can all adopt.


Street Harassment impacts more people than we all like to think.  Stop Street Harassment created a research report earlier this year detailing the most common types of Street Harassment and the people affected by it the most.

“Sixty-five percent of women reported experiencing at least one type of street harassment in their lifetimes. More than half (57%) of all women had experienced verbal harassment, and 41% of all women had experienced physically aggressive forms, including sexual touching (23%), following (20%), flashing (14%), and being forced to do something sexual (9%). For men, 25% experienced street harassment, too, including 18% who experienced verbal harassment and 16% who experienced physically aggressive forms. More men who identified as LGBT experienced harassment than men who identified as heterosexual.

In many ways, persons of color, lower-income people, and persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender were disproportionately affected by street harassment overall, as detailed in the main body of the report.


Stop Street Harassment recommends that women respond to harassment if they feel it is safe to do so, to report it to authorities if possible, and report harassment to an employer if it applies. One of the best ways to deal with street harassment is to talk about it, so share your stories with your friends, family, or even here at Germ. Though street harassment may seem small, it has the power to impact how we feel about ourselves and how we interact with the world. By addressing the words that hurt you, you’re able to dismantle their power and find comfort in a community of others who can understand and empower you.

To see how the law combats street harassment in your state, check out this link. For more resources on this topic, check out



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