A woman gets harassed in NYC? Not overly newsworthy, considering that among the 8 million residents here we have our share of insufferable, obdurate fellows who for some reason think we’re going to just swoon over in unfathomable affection because some crotch-scratching construction worker tosses a whistle our way.
That said, what is surprising is the number of times a woman – admittedly not the most Athena-like stunner our city has to offer but certainly attractive – gets targeted by guys that range from the casual “damn!” dropper to guys that literally followed her for minutes before she shook free.
Writes the NY Post on Oct. 28: “A hidden camera video reveals that a New York City woman was harassed on the street 108 times in 10 hours by obnoxious, cat-calling men, the non-profit Hollaback! claims. Sporting jeans and a crew-neck T-shirt, 24-year-old volunteer Shoshana Roberts drew repeated comments about her body during strolls around Manhattan — by guys who ranged from irritating to scary, the advocacy group said.”
The brave brunette, dressed in simple American Eagle jeans and a crew neck, gets treated to a horde of obnoxious calls: “What’s up girl,” “What’s up beautiful,” “Sweetie,” ‘Hey lookit there,” etc. One pimped out guy says “I just saw a thousand dollars” – perhaps referring to what he would pay or what he could get.
Some men were persistent – “You don’t want to talk, because I’m ugly?” says one. “Can’t we at least be friends?” Sure, as opposed to lifelong marriage partners, because that’s certainly what a pestering fella on the street is looking for. Others were upset that she didn’t return the compliment with some gratitude. “Someone acknowledging you’re beautiful – You should say thank you more.”
And then there was the dude who walked silently next to her for five minutes straight. Creepy! On behalf of good-looking gals in NYC, this kind of trifling flirtation lands somewhere between annoying and downright chilling, and will minimally earn you an eye-roll, and perhaps a face full of mace at most.
The video was put together by Hollaback!, a non-profit advocacy movement to “end street harassment powered by a network of local activists around the world. We work together to better understand street harassment, to ignite public conversations, and to develop innovative strategies to ensure equal access to public spaces,” the site’s About page details.
Emily May, executive director of Hollaback! said: “I want people to see it and say, ‘Holy crap!’ All of these smaller comments add up, when you’re constantly bombarded throughout the day about how you look — it’s the sum of it all,” she said. “We hope people walk away with an understanding about how it feels.”
Add your thoughts and experiences below: Ever been harassed in NYC or in other cities?