There’s a survey up at Holla Back NYC. It’s about street harassment, of course. I hope a lot of people take it. It will be really interesting to see the results once they’re tallied.
Taking the survey was interesting for me, but surely not in a way the Holla Back folks would want or would have envisioned.
At one point, you are asked to note how often, if ever, certain things have happened to you. How often does someone pass you on the street and tell you to smile? How often does someone comment on your body? So I started checking off my answers, which meant acknowledging just how often I experience street harassment. I have clearly managed to mentally downplay the number of incidents, and looking at my answers in the survey forced me to see what a good job my brain has done with that. In addition, checking off the different types of harassment required me to think … not only about the many ways in which I am harassed on the street, but about some of the more upsetting things that have happened.
More than once I nearly checked ‘never’ when some long-closed door in the depths of my memory would swing wide and flash something foul to the front of my brain. No one’s ever followed me — oh, wait, there was that time … No one’s ever — oh, wait, there was that time …
Over and over. By the time I finished the survey, I felt sad, angry uncomfortable, self-conscious. I’d be curious to get that count: the number of women who experienced the survey as reliving things they’d managed not to think about for a while. Maybe it’s just me.
(You can take the survey here.)