Acceptance in Blame: How and why we Blame the Victims of Street Harassment

Hanaa El Moghrabi


Globally, and on a daily basis, women are subjected to unwanted verbal and/or physical intrusions such as catcalling, leering, honking, sexually explicit or sexist comments, touching or grabbing, amongst other actions that are all considered street harassment. This paper is a review of some of the literature available, which focuses on the psychological and feminist aspects of street harassment and victim blaming through social, cognitive, intersectional, and economic lenses. Regarding psychological theories, I will examine reasons why victim blaming happens through the theories of the just-world hypothesis, cognitive dissonance, and the bystander effect. The feminist theories touch on the basics of objectification and power dynamics found within gender, which can help us understand why street harassment happens. Lastly, I will emphasize the importance of starting a conversation about the pervasiveness of street harassment and victim blaming, and why it is important to know where the blame should be instead of where it is almost always placed.


street harassment, victim blaming, gender-based violence, cognitive effects, feminist theories, just-world, cognitive dissonance, group-think, self, social cognition, sociology


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