Examining the immediate and enduring psychological impact of street harassment on women’s mental health
Purpose: Many women report experiences of street harassment during their lifetime. Previous quantitative survey research has shown the variety of ways in which this type of harassment can impact upon a victim-survivor’s life – including restricting their freedom of movement and fear of further victimisation. Design/methodology/approach: The present study aimed to explore, qualitatively, women’s experiences of street harassment through thematic analysis of on 35 online blog posts. Data were collected from the ‘Stop Street Harassment’ website, where women are invited to share their experiences anonymously. Findings: Three main themes were generated from the data. First, the age at which women began to experience street harassment, with recurring early incidents during formative childhood years. Second, the impact that experiences had on their mental health and psychological wellbeing with feelings of shame, fear, self-loathing, as well as decreased self-esteem, and confidence experienced in the immediate aftermath – though the longer-term negative emotions reported were enduring feelings of anger alongside a constant state of anxiety from feelings of vulnerability to further victimisation. The final theme was the modification of behaviour after experiencing street harassment where women chose to avoid walking alone on the streets, or consciously changed their clothing choices, to avoid being harassed. Originality: This study offers a further qualitative insight into the real-life experience and psychological consequences of street harassment upon victim-survivors’ mental health.
- Social Sciences and Humanities
- Communication and Media
- Criminology, Sociology and Social Policy
Published inMental Health and Social Inclusion
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)
Rights holder© Emerald Publishing Limited
Publisher statementThis paper was accepted for publication in the journal Mental Health and Social Inclusion and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1108/MHSI-07-2023-0080. This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.