Your View: Objectifying women

LADS, we need to talk. Driving along, you see a girl walking down the street, so you honk your horn, whistle or call out to show your appreciation, right? Wrong.

Most women don’t like this at all. It’s not a compliment. Our recent study — Young people and walking — found this type of behaviour makes women aged 15-20 feel vulnerable and unsafe while walking.

The study of more than 1000 young people found 40 per cent of our young people do not feel safe walking in their community. Only 15 per cent of young women feel safe walking after dark.

A top concern was being approached by strangers. Walking is important to young people’s health. Our study showed they walk to get to places and to relax. With the costs of the growing obesity epidemic we need to encourage physical activity.

Females particularly like walking. Victoria Walks is calling on local and state governments to invest in making our streets safer and easier for young people to walk so they can develop healthy habits as they transition to adulthood.

But we need males to reconsider their actions. Young women, many as young as 15, told us they are regularly harassed while walking. We don’t tolerate this sort of behaviour in schools and workplaces.

Men who think it is okay to objectify women in public places should take a good hard look at themselves, grow up and stop it.

Dr Ben Rossiter, executive officer, Victoria Walks

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