New York street harassment video goes viral

NEW YORK: A video that shows a woman being pestered by men on the streets of New York has gone viral, sparking renewed debate about harassment endured by women and minority groups.

The two-minute video shows actress Shoshana B. Roberts walking silently in jeans and a T-shirt through Manhattan as man after man greets her with remarks such as “hey, baby” or “hey, beautiful.”

When she does not respond, she is admonished for being rude with comments such as “smile” or “somebody´s acknowledging you for being beautiful. You should say thank you more.”

Called “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman,” at one point the video shows a man who walked alongside Roberts for five minutes without saying a word, causing her clear alarm.

The video has clocked up more than 1.2 million YouTube hits since being posted online Tuesday.

Produced for charity Hollaback!, which is dedicated to ending street harassment, the organizers said Roberts encountered more than 100 instances of verbal street harassment within 10 hours.

She endured countless other winks and whistles. The charity says women, people of color, gays, lesbians and transgenders are particularly susceptible to street harassment, which reminds victims that they are vulnerable to assault.

Rob Bliss, who filmed the video from a camera hidden in his backpack as he walked in front of Roberts, told AFP that he wanted men to see what street harassment looks like and to empower women.

“You can very quickly feel objectified and it´s ugly,” he said. He wants to show men “what street harassment looks like in plain broad daylight, how it makes people feel and leave it out there.

“For women, I wanted to empower them a bit and talk about their own personal experiences, a lot of the time street harassment is something they can´t remove themselves from,” he said.

Roberts said pestering is a daily reality for her. “I´m harassed when I smile and I´m harassed when I don´t. I´m harassed by white men, black men, Latino men,” she said.
“Not a day goes by when I don´t experience this.”

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