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This woman’s Reddit thread encourages others to call out sexual harassment

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Amy Swales
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Street harassment is a part of everyday life for many women. But that fact that it’s depressingly common doesn’t excuse it or make it any less distressing – every instance is worth calling out so that those who don’t experience it have an understanding that others do, and so we never come to think of this behaviour as acceptable.

In that vein, one woman has taken to Reddit to describe a disturbing yet unfortunately familiar scenario she experienced while out shopping with her children – and outlined the importance of making a noise whenever this type of thing happens.

As bustle.com reports, in a post headed, ‘Today a man took a picture up my dress’, the Reddit user explains she was at a branch of Walmart in the pharmacy section, when she realised as she bent down to look at a shelf that her mid-thigh-length dress was riding up.

“As I reached back to pull it down, I heard a f**king camera shutter sound,” she writes. “At this point I was in disbelief, and straightened up to see a late 50s man walking towards the pharmacy with his phone in his hand.

“He was holding it really weird with an awkward grip and I watched him get in line at the pharmacy, where he tilted his phone up to look at the screen... and enough for me to see the picture of my ass with my dress pattern and black underwear.”

CommentToday a man took a picture up my dress.

Stating that it left her feeling “extremely violated”, the poster says she shouted “Excuse me!” and confronted the man, writing: “I took a step towards him, not wanting to walk away from the kids in the stroller. I yelled, ‘Did you just take a picture of me?’ at the man. He mumbled back, ‘Uh I didn’t....’ and looked down and away, at that point he walked off and everyone watching me was looking at me like I was crazy.”

As she alerted a member of staff, the man disappeared and the Reddit user says she called Walmart from home to follow up on the complaint and filed a police report. She later learnt that security camera footage showed the man “stalking” her round the shop before taking the picture.



To hit home her point about speaking out, she writes: “If this happens in public please don’t hesitate to call these people out about it. Embarrass them. Shame them […]

“I went shopping, with my children, and a man stalked me because I looked vulnerable and distracted. Because he thought I wouldn’t notice, or that I would be too afraid to call him out.

“I just wanted to vent a bit and remind all you lovely people to stand up for yourselves and your friends, and strangers, and to not be afraid to make a scene when someone does something repulsing.”

CommentToday a man took a picture up my dress.

The post, which she has backed up with a shot of the police leaflet she received with her incident number, prompted several others to discuss their experiences of being harassed or assaulted.

In England and Wales, taking ‘upskirt’ photographs is not currently a sexual offence, though may fall under public decency laws in some cases – which relies upon others bearing witness – or potentially voyeurism, though this is far less likely given voyeurism applies to private acts (say, getting changed in a changing room) rather than being in a public place and someone taking a picture from a certain angle. In Scotland, upskirting falls under voyeurism as the definition was extended to cover non-consensual recording of images taken beneath clothing. In the US, the law differs from state to state.

Images: iStock

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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.

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