4 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women's Stud. 183 (1994-1995)
A Radical Reshaping of the Law: Interpreting and Remedying Street Harassment

handle is hein.journals/scws4 and id is 195 raw text is: A RADICAL RESHAPING OF THE LAW:
INTERPRETING AND REMEDYING
STREET HARASSMENT
TwAm HEBEN*
What today is sexual harassment was a few years ago just the way
it was. ... The terms and conditions of life for many women
include[], at the least, a verbal barrage of sexual comments. The
challenge to that attitude can be marked in many forums and is of a
piece with the contemporary women's movement. It became
sexual harassment, violence against women, date rape, dis-
crimination, and a host of other terms that have helped to name
experiences and to link these private moments of discomfort, pain,
and terror to political and legal wrongs.'
I. INTRODUCTION
People encounter minor irritations while in the public sphere eve-
ryday. Traffic is congested. People jostle one another in a crowd.
Lines are long. These are problems to which many of us have become
accustomed. However, there is also a subcategory of occurrences
which affect only part of the population. Women are approached by
men, whom they do not know, who make various comments about
their appearance or gender. These comments range from whistles to
profanities. Although many women have become accustomed to this
problem as well, others refuse to view these comments as minor irri-
tations'2 and do not accept them as inevitable. The concept of identi-
fying and combatting street harassment was then developed by those
* J.DJM.P.A. candidate, 1996, University of Southern California Law Center, Fellow,
1994-95 Congressional Fellowship on Women and Public Policy; B.A., 1992, Northwestern Uni-
versity. I wish to thank Ronald Garet, Carol Brooks Gardner and Angela L. Johnson for their
support and assistance.
1. Judith Resnik, Hearing Women, 65 S. CA.. L. Rnv. 1333, 1337 (1992).
2. While street harassment is not as damaging a problem as rape, it is an act of violence
which prevents women from creating their own identities and making choices not based on fear.
See Adrienne Rich, Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence, SIGNS, Summer 1980, at
631.

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