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SSH will not publish any comment that is offensive or hateful and does not add to a thoughtful discussion of street harassment. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, disabalism, classism, and sexism will not be tolerated. Disclaimer: SSH may use any stories submitted to the blog in future scholarly publications on street harassment.

“Street harassment is so bad in Italy, I barely go outside.”

In Stories, street harassment | on 11.29.11 | by | Comments ( 2 )

Street harassment and stranger harassment are one in the same. I am an American woman who owns a small hotel in Livorno, Italy. It’s a family hotel that is pretty much for tourists, locals can’t stay.

Street harassment is so bad in Italy, I barely go outside. The only time I go out is when I am with my partner and sometimes I still get kisses blown at me, and stares. Because we are a mixed couple, people don’t assume that we’re even together.

Today, while at the hotel, a man called. He wanted to book a room for December 30-31. My Italian isn’t so great, so I apologized. He said that he already knew that I was American and had an athletic build. Then asked if he could book an escort for those nights. Oh my God!

I stay in the house day in and day out because people of the stares, lewd remarks, gestures and comments I have received within the five years of living here. To be harassed in my own business and have someone assume that I am somehow involved in prostitution because I am a woman of color, enrages me. Here, you can’t even hide or take control of your own environment!

- Anonymous

Location: Livorno, Italy

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2 Responses

11.29.11

I saw an episode of What Would You Do where a woman assumed that an abuse victim was a prostitute just because she was black and dressed provocatively. Apparently this kind of racism and sexism is common.

11.29.11

[...] Street harassment includes verbal and physical assault by a full spectrum of men whose primary filter for understanding women is to sexualize them. It can come from everyone from religious conservatives to sexually aggressive street thugs who “man-handle” them. It’s all gender-bullying. “Just as they got close to us, one of them grabbed me by the arm and put his hand on my chest and felt and grabbed me then released me seconds later and continued walking as if nothing happened. My cousin was right next to me, but neither of us could speak a word, I couldn’t bring myself to shout, I was so scared.” - Lebanon “I went to the gym today and on my way there some guy said, ‘Nice hat,’ as I’m accustomed to hearing, but then he scares me a little when he leans into the door and opens it as I attempt to get to the gym, then says next to my ear, ‘Take care of yourself baby.’” - New York “I experienced four incidents on a Saturday evening in the space of ten minutes while walking down a relatively isolated street (for pedestrians) but it was fairly busy with lots of cars on the streets … being called a ‘slut’ had already riled me so much that I reacted badly to the other minor ‘call outs.’ I wish there was something I could do to against these ‘drive by’ harassers.” -Sydney, Australia “The only time I go out is when I am with my partner and sometimes I still get kisses blown at me, and stares.” - Livorno, Italy [...]

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