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Today as I was enjoying a peaceful walk home, a car sped by and a man yelled, “Hey- give me some of that pussy!” Unfortunately, my neighborhood harasser was driving too quickly for me to see the license plate or his face, much less take a picture. The icing on the cake was that a few minutes later, a different car drove by and two more young men honked and cat-called me. As a teacher, I spend a great deal of time asking children, “Do you think it’s a good idea to call people mean names?”, or, “How does it make you feel when someone calls you a name?”, in an attempt to teach them empathy and think about how their words and actions affect their classmates. If (or when) this happens again to me or someone I’m with, I want the opportunity to ask the harasser the same questions. Of course, I’m not foolish enough to think I alone can change a person’s behavior, but maybe sparking a dialogue is a starting place.
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