How Much Effort Do Women Put Into Coping With Sexual Harassment in a Day?

Find the original article at Talkspace.

It’s that knot of anxiety in the pit of your stomach when you walk down the street. You step off the train, your bag in front of your breasts, flinching lest the next passerby brush you “accidentally-on-purpose.”

It’s never knowing whether your boss is leaning just a little too close.

It’s turning the music up loud so you don’t hear the catcallers, or turning down an invitation to a work outing because the coworker who’s going has a reputation for getting handsy when he’s drunk.

In the course of an average day, women spend an incredible amount of time and energy attempting to avoid sexual harassment — and thanks to recent research, we now know how much. This time and effort is called “safety work,” and it is work: All those moments of self-censorship, of adjusting our behavior, of choosing what we wear or where we go based, not on our real desires, but on fear for our safety, aren’t just minor annoyances. They have a major effect on our mental health, from daily stress to effects as serious as post traumatic stress disorder.

A recent group of feminist researchers has elaborated how “safety work” exacts a toll on women’s everyday lives. UK-based researcher Liz Kelly has argued that safety work is the labor that women are forced to do in order to try to keep ourselves safe from domestic and sexual violence, in a world in which this violence is not an occasional incident but an overwhelming daily threat.

Find the full original article at Talkspace.

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