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Dr Maria do Mar Pereira - Street harassment is a daily occurrence for women of all backgrounds and ages

Actor Shoshana B Roberts put together a video recording all the remarks she got from passers-by as she walked for 10 hours through New York. Street harassment of the kind seen in her video happens every day in the UK and around the world, according to Dr Maria do Mar Pereira, Deputy Director of the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender at the University of Warwick.

Responding to the film, which has gone viral in the last 24 hours, Dr Pereira says it’s time such situations are seen for what they are - an absolutely unacceptable form of systematic harassment which has an extremely negative impact on women, rather than harmless compliments or trivial normal occurrences.

She said: “This video is a vivid illustration of a phenomenon that most women are, unfortunately, very familiar with. Indeed, sociological research has shown that street harassment is a daily occurrence in the UK and elsewhere, experienced by women of many different backgrounds and ages.

"For me, one of the most striking aspects of this video is the reactions it has received, with several people asking whether these so-called “compliments” really deserve the name “harassment”.

“The scientific evidence shows that being subjected to these forms of unwanted attention has an extremely negative impact on women’s emotional and psychological well-being, autonomy, sense of safety, relationship with their bodies, and confidence in using public space. We also know that there is a relation between men’s sense that they entitled to make verbal comments about women’s bodies, and the likelihood of them physically and sexually assaulting women.

“Therefore, it is time for us to stop seeing these situations as just harmless compliments or trivial, normal occurrences, and begin naming them for what they are – an absolutely unacceptable form of systematic harassment, that causes significant harm to women and prevents them from enjoying equal rights to privacy and public space.”

Dr Pereira is available for interview – call 02476 574 742 or email m.d.m.pereira@warwick.ac.uk.

Issued by Lee Page, Communications Manager, l.page@warwick.ac.uk, 02476 574 255, 07920 531 221.

 

 

Centre for the Study of
Women and Gender


Issued by Lee Page, Communications Manager, l.page@warwick.ac.uk, 02476 574 255, 07920 531 221.