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During the summer, people often wear shorts, tank tops and clothing that covers less skin. Clothing choices are usually made because of convenience, comfort and because it can make people feel good. Unfortunately it’s often seen as acceptable to objectify and harass people based on what they’re wearing.

All people, regardless of their fashion or appearance, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. What someone’s wearing is never an excuse to harass them – clothing choice is not an invitation to catcall, make comments about their body, or touch them without consent.

We may feel like comments and jokes are harmless, but shaming someone based on their body or the clothes that they are wearing can have long-lasting effects on someone’s self-esteem, sense of self, and sense of safety. We can make our communities safer by speaking up if we hear inappropriate comments or jokes or see someone being harassed. Enjoying summer activities is a lot easier if you don’t have to worry about comments or judgments based on your body or clothing.

If you or someone you know is experiencing harassment or abuse, free help and support is available from Hope House by calling 1-800-584-6790.

Becky Berry, youth educator advocate, Hope House of South Central Wisconsin, Baraboo