Testimony: “I come to you today to discuss the issue of street harassment. Having lived in New York City all my life, I have been receiving some form of harassment since I was eight.”

Hello, I would like to thank you for taking the time to listen to our testimonies for an issue that we all find very important. My name is Olivia. I am fifteen, and a junior in high school, currently taking a feminism class.

I come to you today to discuss the issue of street harassment. Having lived in New York City all my life, I have been receiving some form of harassment since I was eight. I have had a man insinuate that I am a prostitute, and that he would like to “ purchase” me. It has never escalated further than a man following me for about a block, but even that is too much. Almost every woman I know has experienced a man masturbating on the subway, or other public place, or has been stopped against her will on the street so a man can talk to her.

The worst part is, although street harassment is illegal, nobody gets caught. Rarely anybody on the street helps the woman being harassed, neither standing up for her nor calling the police. And what would happen if they did tell the police? Most likely nothing. There must be a change to this. The threat of street harassment is escalating, because men know they can get away with it. This city has to begin taking the issue more seriously. Posting signs in the subway is not enough, clearly. Men need to know that if they commit the crime of street harassment, they will receive punishment, as will any person who commits a crime. Thank you.

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