The article, “Street harassment in Philly: Unsafe, uncomfortable and untracked” entirely narrates the negative effects brought by street harassment especially on women. Apparently, street harassment is described as a form of harassment that comprises of unwanted comments, catcalling, unnecessary sexual advances, honking, and gestures in public places including streets, shopping malls, and public transport (Orso 1). The article loosely defines street harassment, “as catcalls, sexually explicit comments, sexist remarks, homophobic slurs, groping, leering, stalking, flashing and assault.” (Orso 1). It is noted that all women would be subjected to some form of gender-based street harassment in their lifetime (Orso 1).
The street harassment is common among the minority and trans women and it has been cited that there are high rates of violence against trans women especially on certain color. Besides, street harassment brings the “unsafe” feeling among people walking along the streets due to bad behaviours of some harassments. As a result, Orso article analysis attempts to address street harassment among minority and trans women, the ‘unsafe’ feeling brought by the street harassment and finishes by the bystander effect. Intrinsically, street harassment is not good at all since it encourages discrimination due to color, makes women and some men unsafe, uncomfortable, and untracked while using public places.
The article narrates about the examination of street harassment in Philadelphia, where a woman is used as an example to experience some form of harassment. The street harassment is completely common among women in Philadelphia especially while they are commuting to work, walking to school or even when running back home (Orso 1). It has become a pattern where women get catcalled making them to feel unsafe and uncomfortable since the habit is repetitive. For instance, as depicted in the following quote, “Some women say they’re subjected to a near-daily barrage of crude commentary from men on the street about their appearance that, at best, makes them feel annoyed” (Orso 1). It shows that street harassment is not entertained by most people according to how people react it. Women who have faced street harassment such as stalking or sexual assault feel traumatized thus it must be stopped.
Street harassment has created unsafe feeling towards certain people in the society. The feeling of unsafe is common among women because of they do not know what people are capable of doing especially while walking along streets. For instance, this horror moment that this woman went as narrated by the article, She was walking on the sidewalk on a Tuesday night around 10 p.m., and a man was in an empty parking space, on his knees, masturbating in front of her, saying “oh yeah, baby.” She ran, and for months didn’t feel safe walking around at night” (Orso 3). The article continues by saying that experiences of the street harassment are always dismissed and not considered as serious issues. Katie Chockley, a 25 years old lady who lives in Philadelphia feels that “women’s experiences with street harassment are often dismissed or not taken seriously” (Orso 3). Thus, street harassment has not been dealt with because victims end up being dismissed due to insufficient evidence when they lodge complaints.
Moreover, street harassment of minority and trans women has portrayed to be common in Philadelphia and this statement is justified from Morrison’s statement. Morrison claims that street harassment of trans women occurs all the time and it has caused trauma among many people.
The minority also experiences street harassment especially the transgender group. According to the survey carried out by the National Center for Transgender Equality concluded, “those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are more like to experience street harassment than their heterosexual or cisgender counterparts” (Orso 4). The article used studies to vindicate the street harassment in most of the public places as portrayed in the article.
Minority status especially race is an essential element when it comes to street harassment and the article has greatly narrated it comes into play. The study Stop Street Harassment conducted in 2014 found that black and Hispanic are experiencing higher street harassment than white people. But there are cases where white women face street harassment from black and brown men, like a viral video that, “featured a white woman walking around being catcalled almost entirely by black and brown men” (Orso 4).
Though, there is no concrete evidence that black men are more frequently harassed than white men but there is enough evidence that support black women’s street harassment (Orso 4). Perhaps, there is a way that the article is attempting to show that street harassment is connected with racial discrimination. This narrative is reinforced by the following quote, “there is nothing in our socialization that says ‘protect black girls and women,’ whereas white women are portrayed as damsels in need of saving” (Orso 4). Street harassment should stop to save women from any forms of discrimination by having more cameras on streets and more policemen on neighbours.
The bystander effect is where men takes advantage of harassing women and go without minding of the consequences. “When Chockley was jogging along the Schuylkill River Trail two summers ago, a group of kids on bikes rode by her. One slapped her butt while riding by, and she broke out into a full sprint to try to chase them down. She couldn’t catch up to them, and immediately burst into tears” (Orso 5). This statement portrays how women especially young ladies experience sexual harassment inflicted by men regardless of their ages.
The article also goes to the extent of mentioning how to deal with the street harassment probably among women. Awareness has been created to ensure that people respond to suffering of others like this quote, “This nice woman came up to me and was like, ‘are you OK, I saw what happened and you should call the police” (Orso 5). However, the victim was not ready to do what she was told, it was great effort about the awareness of people to be protector of others in the society. In addition, there is social media campaign that would be used in encouraging people to check on the street harassment towards women (Orso 5). “There are ways of intervening and being a bystander,” Jones said, “without escalating a situation” (Orso 5). The quotes are critical in encouraging women to take care of each other to ensure that street harassment is completely finished in the society. Men also are advised to be better bystanders and discourage fellow men still doing street harassment against women in both public and private places. It is vital for people to check other people to fight this menace of street harassment in Philadelphia.
Orso Anna, “Street harassment in Philly: Unsafe, uncomfortable and untracked.” Billy Penn Illustration, (2017).