For many girls and women, street harassment starts early in life and continues as long as you are a living, breathing, visible female in the world.
It can encompass everything from the elderly man on your street corner who yells that you'd be prettier if you smiled more; to the car full of strangers who roll their windows down and debate your physical appearance within earshot of you; to the would-be suitor who, agitated he didn't get your number, follows you on your way home. These are the kind of everyday aggressions that women often talk about with sisters and friends, but rarely air in a public forum where men are forced to engage with them, too.
Until now. In a wave of snarky one-liners, women on Twitter are blowing the lid off street harassment with the hashtag #NoWomanEver.
It goes something like this:
The hashtag, which has been used sporadically for years, was given new life on Saturday by a 37-year-old Atlanta woman named CJ, or @ImJustCeej on Twitter.
"I started the hashtag out of sheer frustration," she told Paper Magazine. "There was a conversation on my timeline about street harassment early Saturday morning, and a lot of the men engaging were being obtuse and dismissive... The women were crying out, once again, about being intimidated and disrespected, and the guys were pretending that it wasn't a valid concern."
She decided the hashtag would help women get their voices heard. Sixty-five percent of women have experience street harassment, according to a 2014 national survey commissioned by the organization Stop Street Harassment. Among these women, 23 percent had been sexually touched, 20 percent had been followed, and 9 percent had been forced into sexual activity.
"These women have gone through a lot of disgusting and inappropriate crap that they should never have to experience," the Atlanta woman told Paper. "I kept reading through the tag all day Saturday, and I realized something powerful was happening."