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Sexual Harassment in the City

New York City – a place where anything is possible. One goes there to fulfill dreams of stardom, to make millions, and to see and be seen. However, if you are a woman in the city, the ‘being seen’ aspect takes on a whole new meaning. While it might a place for hope and opportunity, New York is not the land of the free for everyone. In fact, about 50% of its population is being marginalized everyday on the its streets. Yet, no one seems to be doing anything about it.

As I walked down the streets of the meatpacking district, with a male friend who had recently moved to the city, he espoused how free he felt living in NY. As an Australian, of Costa Rican descent, he described feelings of never fitting in in his birthplace. ‘However, in NY,’ he said, ‘I feel right at home. Everyone can just be themselves here, no judgements, and no one interfering in my business.’ Yes, it seemed ideal. Lucky him. Having spent the last three days wandering around the city by myself, being constantly harassed by men on the street, I was feeling anything but free. Instead, I was feeling frustrated, closed off, and pissed off.

My first morning in the city, I learned very quickly not to make eye contact with anyone, let alone say, ‘hello’. I woke up feeling fresh and excited, ready to explore the city. I wandered out of my rented flat ...