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What Makes Street Harassers Think Touching Is OK?


Clutch magazine's Danielle C. Belton says that men in New York have been testing her "friendliness" with physical contact that really crosses a line.

… But when I really thought about it, how often had this happened where a guy grabbing me and pulling me in a direction I had no interest in going got no response out of me? When-oh-when did I get used to it?

And what on Earth made this guy think this was OK?

My fake big brother Jada and I have this constant dialogue about how being good-looking allows people — male and female — to get away with behavior that would be "Dial 9-1-1"  worthy of anyone else. Part of the reason why he enjoys having this conversation is because he's good looking, in the classic "tall, athletic and big smile" kind of way and usually my stories of having my personal space intruded upon involves men who don't typically fit those parameters.

So, in their haphazard defense, he'll often say, "But, yeah, what if he was really good-looking? Would a complete stranger grabbing your arm in the middle of Time Square shouting, ‘I've been following you for two blocks just to get your name!' creep you out?"

And I always respond with, "I dunno. Probably. But I've never had a good-looking guy do that. Have you ever done that?"

And the answer is always no. Why would he do that? "I don't need to do that," he'd say.


Read Danielle C. Belton's entire piece at Clutch magazine.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff. 


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