2.5 Blocks of Street Harassment

I hurt my foot on Thursday and have been crutching around all weekend. I was struck by the immediate increase in attention I received, as people mistook my new treillage for conversation starters. It was most poignant on my way to work, from SOMA to Oakland via BART. On an average day, I estimate between 0-2 comments on any given commute. This morning I felt comments coming in pairs.

I used my iPhone audio note and my usual geo app to track how many comments were made to me on my way home and where. For the occasional disbeliever, I've mapped the comments below (8 in 2.5 blocks). Paint the scene: I'm hopping along, sweat accumulating, armpits chaffing, and....

 Special shout out to "I'll put you in a wheelchair, Ma," because I don't even know if that's creepy or violent or just a judgment on my recovery methods.

Special shout out to "I'll put you in a wheelchair, Ma," because I don't even know if that's creepy or violent or just a judgment on my recovery methods.

Just in case any of these seemed thoughtful or helpful or anything but menacing, some statistics:

  • 100% of these comments came from men, completely unsolicited (including eye contact).
  • 0% of these men stopped walking to deliver their comments (which might be an indication of some sincere effort to lend a hand), although, to be fair, "Need a lift?" was leaning against his car.

A few lessons learned from Day One of mapping unwanted attention on the street: Popular anti-street harassment campaigns have marketed themselves towards young people in cities - Hollaback is an obvious example. Gentlemen callers #5 and #8, "Let's race" and "Need some help, Red?" respectively, were both apparently normal middle-aged white schmos dressed in business casual with cell phones in hand. There's no just reason for me expect more from these guys, except my gut reaction to men who look like nerdy dads to teenage daughters - i.e. look like my dad - is that they should know better, if anyone ever will. End scene. On to Day Two.


Base data from Alameda Open Data.