September 17, 2013 - 5:28pm
BY ERIN KWEDERIS
Two weeks ago, after the Notre Dame football game, I experienced street harassment. I was walking home from the game with my boyfriend around midnight. He put his arm around my shoulder — pretty innocent, everyday college stuff. I had noticed some guys wearing Michigan shirts behind us who were drunk, but didn’t think much of it. When they noticed my boyfriend touch me, though, they felt it necessary to start yelling at us. “Nice souvenir! You gonna get some tonight,” the drunkards directed at my boyfriend. From there, they shouted a barrage of suggestions for what he should do to me — in graphic detail — while simultaneously calling me a bitch, slut and whore. It was humiliating and scary, leaving me visibly shaken. It made me feel like I should’ve watched the game at home.
This is an extreme example, but degradation and fear tactics like this are used against women every single day. Every day women are catcalled on the street, told they should smile, that their ass looks great in that skirt or wow, they’re too fat for that shirt. Street harassment is used to remind women that no matter how educated you are, no matter how much you accomplish, a guy standing in line at the grocery store can still reduce you to your body and make you clutch your keys between your fingers on the way back to your car.
Every student at this university should be able to walk through campus and feel safe. Every student should be able to go to a football game, without fear that someone will threaten them on the way home. When students feel like they can’t fully participate in campus life, we all lose. It’s up to us to change that.