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article imageVideo exposing street harassment draws rape threats (Video)

By Anne Sewell     Oct 29, 2014 in World
New York - Shoshana B. Roberts was fed up with the sexual harassment she was experiencing in the streets of New York City. She decided record this treatment on a hidden camera to expose what women have to go through every day in the streets of the city.
The above video was uploaded to YouTube on October 28 and has already received over five million views. It shows a 10-hour walk around the city and records over 100 catcalls and other types of harassment that Roberts received as she walked. It is even possible to see one man, walking beside her for a full five minutes, who wouldn’t leave her alone.
Roberts made the video in conjunction with Hollaback, an organization involved in trying to stop street intimidation and harassment. However, one day after posting the video, the rape threats are starting to come in among the video comments.
An example is a comment by one “Albert YENO”, who says “stupid f*cking c*nt i seriously hope you get raped” (language edited).
Hollaback says, "The rape threats indicate that we are hitting a nerve," adding that they want to do more than just hit a nerve. They want New Yorkers to realize that street harassment is not OK.
Hollaback's website describes street harassment as, "a form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces. It exists on a spectrum including “catcalling” or verbal harassment, stalking, groping, public masturbation, and assault."
Other comments are varied, saying she should get a thicker skin, or dress less alluringly. Some of the comments say that she should be happy to receive the compliments, but women comment that the constant bombardment of the catcalls makes them feel unsafe. Other comments say she should have turned around and told them to stop, but women are reportedly learning that if you respond, you risk making the situation even worse by making the men angry.
Hollaback representatives say that this video was not actually made for the women who are facing the harassment; it is for the men who are still blissfully unaware of how these women feel as they walk down the street. However, it seems from the comments that in most cases, the reaction of the men who watch this video is to feel threatened themselves and, hiding behind their YouTube identities, they can then make threats of rape and violence without any comeback.
The outcome of the experiment appears to be that not only can women feel unsafe in the streets, but should they dare to show the world what they are experiencing, they can then be made to feel unsafe on their own computers.
More about NYC, Hollaback, Shoshana B Roberts, catcalls, Sexual harassment
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