In Depth

Woman harassed 100 times in one day in NYC – video

Campaign video designed to raise awareness of street harassment goes viral as actress receives rape and death threats

A video showing a woman being harassed on the streets of New York has gone viral – and provoked a series of online threats against the woman who appeared in it.

The video was created by Hollaback, an initiative working to combat street harassment, and features actress Shoshanna Roberts walking through the city in a t-shirt and jeans.

Filmmaker Robert Bliss attached a hidden camera to his rucksack and walked in front of Roberts, while the actress carried microphones in her hands.

Over the course of ten hours, over 100 instances of street harassment were recorded, varying from "hey what's up girl?", to "damn, come back". One man followed the actress for more than five minutes.

"I'm harassed when I smile and I'm harassed when I don't," said Roberts. "I'm harassed by white men, black men, latino men. Not a day goes by when I don’t experience this."

Street harassment can vary from catcalling, to following, to groping and assault and is often used "as a means to silence our voices and 'keep us in our place', according to Hollaback.

They say it disproportionately affects women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and young people and often has a severe impact on their emotional well-being, with some being left fearful of leaving the house alone.

The video received world-wide support and has been viewed over five million times, but within hours of the video being posted to YouTube, the actress began receiving death and rape threats via social media.

The subject of our PSA is starting to get rape threats on the comments. Can you help by reporting them? http://t.co/NMYCFd9YOm

Hollaback! (@iHollaback) October 28, 2014

Others suggested that what she had experiences was not, in fact, harassment. One commenter said: "So we've reached a state where it is already harassment when you wish a woman a nice day? Well played feminism."

The same man added: "This woman wears a skin-tight t-shirt with leggings and a push-up bra. What did she expect?"

Feminist campaigners said such comments revealed just how much of a cultural change was needed.

"The problem here isn't just that men are ignorant of how women are treated," writes Kelsey Mckinney in Vox. "The problem is that many know exactly what they're doing to women, and will try to intimidate and silence women who try to fight back."

It's laughable

to me that men feel they can definitively say that an issue (that does not affect them) is not an issue #StreetHarrasment

Uraidah Hassani (@UraidahH) October 29, 2014

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