Street harassment is a constant

Alyson Neel, writing for the Washington Post, on the pervasiveness of street harassment in Istanbul:

While waiting at my bus stop one spring morning in 2011, I watched as a man assaulted a woman in the middle of the street, apparently unfazed by the throng of witnesses mere yards away. When I tried to intervene, the man swiped at me with a knife, and were it not for another bystander who pulled me back, he might well have made contact.

I was shaken and shocked — not only by the brazenness of the crime but also by the indifference of onlookers and the refusal of the police to get involved in a “private matter.” Though I tried, I never found out what became of the perpetrator or the woman he attacked.

Turkey has made important progress in advancing women’s rights in the past 20 years, but it remains a socially conservative country where violence against women is a major problem.

One of the things that continues to shock me about Washington D.C. is the extent to which men feel free to publicly harass women. It's nowhere near as violence as what Neel describes, but it does carry its own kind of menace.