Sexual Harassment is not a Compliment

Nottingham Police have recently stated that
Street Harassment is a Hate Crime.
Street Harassment is
Wolf Whistling
Cat Calling
Unwanted Sexual Advances
(Such as being slapped on the bum
Or someone grabbing your boobs
Or even being forced into giving a hug or a kiss)
And digital messages 
(or even just being forced to give your number)

Of course- guess what this means?
Many of the male population are
In uproar.
They demand to know 
‘When Political Correctness will stop!’
‘If women don’t want to be whistled
they should cover themselves up’ 
‘Why are you making it punishable for me to just give a compliment?!’

To some people, it may be a compliment.
But to others, it is not.
And it is not mans right to decide what a woman should think.

When I was twenty
and walking down a street in a cocktail dress
Towards an award night I was at
Two men made me pause.
One was walking past me and he slowed
and said ‘Excuse me miss, I just want to say
You look amazing in that dress. Wherever you are going,
I hope you enjoy your evening.’
I smiled back and thanked him- and we both carried on walking
In opposite directions.
The other man- he called from across the street. Without a smile
With a whistled, and turned the summer evening to chill against my skin.

When I was nineteen
my boss threatened to have a man barred from the shop.
Because the man came in- and he was twice my age-
and made comments that made my skin crawl.
Would offer to take me out to lunch
and follow me around the shop while I worked.
and gave me ‘compliments’ no man my father’s age
should give a women my own age.

When I was twenty-one
I was followed home from work
by a car with their headlights off.
Yet these men tell me street harassment
is nothing to be scared of.

It is the twenty-first century.
The fact that the police have to be trained
in something like this
says a lot about the world we live in.
The fact that men still think
it is their right to make us
nothing more than an object to look at
and demand us to smile and act like it’s a gift
says a lot about the world we live in.
The fact that this is to protect women
and men are the ones complaining
that their right are being taken away
tells us that the world we live in
is no way equal- and they will fight so it stays that way.

I am twenty-two.
And my body is not an object
for older men to ogle as I walk.
I should not be scared to wear a dress or a skirt
I should not be blamed for wearing shorts-and being shouted at.
I should not have to cover up and hide
just because men cannot use their brains
when a younger woman walks past.

Stop acting like
this harassment is meant as something good
when it is another reminder that to you
we are nothing but ants to men’s might.
If a compliment was meant
it would not be about looks
but about heart and soul and mind-
and the fact that women are breaking out
of a mould we should never have been put in.

And if it was a compliment
then you wouldn’t get insulted
when women find it in themselves to 
admit they thought they looked good.
you wouldn’t complain about the
selfies and smiles and the fact
girls are finding who they are.

It is not your right to tell us
how to look what to wear how to act.
and it is not your right as a stranger
to make us fear walking down a street alone.

The End

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