This week Sophie Peeters, a film student from France released a video called Femme De La Rue. In the film Sophie walks around her local neighbourhood in Brussels. For most of the film she is wearing a knee length summer dress and cowboy boots, and sometimes she is wearing a cardigan and a scarf. A hidden camera films her progress.She gets harassed. Repeatedly. Find that hard to believe? Well, there’s a wrinkle here:
Some controversy has flared up about the film, in particular because many of the men who harass Peeter’s in the film are of North African extraction, and Peeters is a white woman.Ah. Now the penny drops. But don’t think what you are thinking!
But for those of you, who think that this sort of harassment is unique to the streets of Brussels or a racial matter, you are mistaken.And Eva’s going to show you why:
I was shocked when I first saw the film but then I had to admit to myself that this was all too familiar. I have lived in London for most of my life, I am now 21 and for the last four years almost every day I have experienced harassment of this kind. When I was sixteen it was much the same as Peeters shows in her film… men asking me for my number or for a fuck, and the occasional a white van bibbing as they sped past.Hmm, how can you tell they are bibbing at you, Eva?
Whilst travelling on the tube in rush hour, with barely any room to breathe, I am forced to endure middle aged men standing close, asking for my name and not giving up until I am forced to leave the train before I have reached my stop.Really? My inner sceptic is coming out to play, here…
Last week at 5pm two men in a car followed me down a street nearly a mile long. At first the driver started slowing down, asking me relatively harmless questions like “Will you marry me?” to which I responded in my usual manner- I looked at the ground and kept silent. Then he became progressively more aggressive. He started to pull up and get out of his car, asking me for s88. He did this four times in total. Luckily, a friend of mine called me on my mobile phone and I made her stay on the phone to me till I reached my destination, trying my best to ignore the man pursuing me down the street.So….why no descriptions of the men?
I mean, you’ve shown how it’s not ‘unique to the streets of Brussels’, Eva, but you’ve studiously ignored the elephant in the room, haven’t you?
I guess we are entitled to draw our own conclusions as to why…
The men were obviously a pair of 'Bullingdon Toffs' making their way home, in daddy's Bentley, after an evening of high jinks. This, no doubt, accounts for the Independent's sensitivity concerning their appearance; had these malefactors been from the lower orders, or worse still, of foreign appearance, then they would surely have been identified.
It's a double header. On the one hand she nicely avoids the question of who these guys are - militant Buddhists would be my guess - while at the same time sliming men in general.
Seriously, people standing close on the Tube? The deuce you say!
Apparently, the Guardian is down with gays in the military, but not middle-aged guys on the train.
"Asking me for s88"
Is this some street-slang that doesn't exist where I live, or is it a typo?
Those poor North African men need all the help they can, that Belgian slut is obviously a bloody racist, setting these poor men up. Well done Eve for trying to level the playing field.
@Weekend Yachtsman: I'm guessing s88 is a typo for s**, although why its in Julia's post as s** when the original article says sex I don't know.
Remarkable how some idiots' first instincts were to accuse Sofie Peeters of being a racist, when the film shows her being picked on!
Ah, the old, quite desperate trick of conflating everyday trivia with turd world menace and shouting 'Look! Everyone does it!".
I doesn't work, Lefties, and never will.
Muslims and blacks again, don't you just love them.
At first the driver started slowing down, asking me relatively harmless questions like “Will you marry me?” to which I responded in my usual manner- I looked at the ground and kept silent.
"Relatively harmless questions?" Oh sure everyone goes around asking complete stangers to marry them don't they? Touch of the Muslim weekend dispensation there I suspect.
"I responded in my usual manner..." Shit how hot are you lady, that this is a usual occurence?
On the incredibly rare times that this has happened to my wife, she usually responds with...
Come on then, get the Wedding tackle out and let's have a look at it.Don't worry, I've got a magnifying glass in my bag here somewhere...
I'm very grateful to her for raising the subject.
I get about and it is only in London, as I step off at Kings Cross, that I have to take care to look about me on this score. It isn't to do with age or appearance (trust me on this, I'm careful not to be misunderstood); it's to do with a profound belief they have that sex, money and citizenship can be had for asking, as if they have been told that this is available on demand in a persistent urban myth. Given the benefits system, you can see how this idea takes root.
I've been in and out of London for a very long time now and I can honestly say this broad-spectrum chancing is a new thing which came with the recent elephant we don't mention.
Note to Mrs Rab - I would not advise using a technique which might have worked with a suburban flasher in the 1960s. Anything which can be construed as 'banter' will be taken as engagement and make it harder to get away, not easier. It will also confuse other people, including the police, since the attacker will then look hurt and claim that she was speaking to them willingly and that they have been wrongly accused.
I was very disappointed that in the comments of the story, many people misunderstood this was about sex.
Sexual Harassment training film:
"Seriously, people standing close on the Tube? The deuce you say! "
"Is this some street-slang that doesn't exist where I live, or is it a typo?"
Ah! Sorry, I wrote it in my lunch break and removed anything that might trip the firm's sensitive new profanity filter. I meant to replace it before publication and forgot!
"Shit how hot are you lady, that this is a usual occurence?"
I had to wonder that!
"It isn't to do with age or appearance (trust me on this, I'm careful not to be misunderstood); it's to do with a profound belief they have that sex, money and citizenship can be had for asking, as if they have been told that this is available on demand in a persistent urban myth."
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