Women are harassed on the street constantly and it’s a problem that isn’t taken seriously enough. Complaints are often met with responses that are dismissive (“Just ignore it”) and victim-blaming (“You’re being too sensitive, stop taking everything so seriously!”) What these derailing respondents fail to understand is not only how vulnerable and unsafe street harassment makes victims feel, but how pervasive the problem is.
In order to help your average person understand just how troublesome this brand of harassment is, a nonprofit group Hollaback!, dedicated to ending street harassment partnered with video marketing exec Rob Bliss, and sent a volunteer, named Shoshana B. Roberts, out into the streets of New York, with a GoPro camera following her journey. Over the course of 10 hours, Roberts was harrassed 108 times. There was catcalling, whistles, leers, several men followed Roberts for a few blocks, one dude walked right behind her, harassing her for a solid five minutes.
Roberts explained that she was unfortunately not at all surprised by the results of the experiment:
“I’m harassed when I smile and I’m harassed when I don’t,” Roberts said. “Not a day goes by when I don’t experience this.”
According to Hollaback!, between 70 and 99 percent of women are harassed while walking down the street at some point in their lives. Women have the right to feel safe while walking down the streets. We need to stop street harassment and shut this behavior down now.