Author Topic: The woman who made a video about catcalling is already getting rape threats  (Read 2949 times)

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Offline mayya

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The woman who made a video about catcalling is already getting rape threats

Updated by Kelsey McKinney on October 29, 2014, 10:20 a.m. ET
@mckinneykelsey [email protected]


Shoshana B. Roberts — who walked around New York City for 10 hours while being filmed by a hidden camera so that she could record the harassment she received from men on the street — is already getting rape threats.
Roberts's video, which after a day online has already racked up more than 1 million views, documents the over 100 catcalls, whistles, and other forms of harassment she received over the course of the day. One persistent character walked alongside her for five minutes and wouldn't leave her alone:

The video was produced by Hollaback, an organization dedicated to stamping out street harassment and intimidation. Last night, Hollaback tweeted:
The subject of our PSA is starting to get rape threats on the comments. Can you help by reporting them?
— Hollaback! (@iHollaback) October 28, 2014

The threats are still coming today. These, for instance, were posted while I was writing this article:

"The rape threats indicate that we are hitting a nerve," Hollaback director Emily May told Newsday. "We want to do more than just hit a nerve though, we want New Yorkers to realize — once and for all — that street harassment isn't OK, and that as a city we refuse to tolerate it."
The worst part is that this isn't surprising

Roberts's video is so offensive because it's so familiar. Any woman who has ever walked anywhere, especially in New York, knows the constant, terrifying din of catcalls following behind her. It's a way men make women feel unsafe walking the streets of their own neighborhoods — and then, when challenged on it, profess innocence: "what, you can't take a compliment?" Women quickly learn that as awful as catcalling is, they can't respond to it. To respond is to risk being harassed more, or followed, or worse. To respond is to risk making the man who is shouting at you on the street, after dark, actually angry.

Similarly, the response to Roberts's video is so offensive because it is, again, so familiar. Rape and death threats have become a standard response to any woman who dares to speak out on the internet about, well, anything. Look at #Gamergate. Look at Emma Watson. And there, too, to respond is to risk making it worse. When geek hero Felicia Day lamented the harassment of women in #Gamergate, her home address and other personal information was posted online. To respond is to risk making the men who are digging through your personal information and threatening to rape or kill you actually angry.

This video wasn't made for women facing harassment. It was made for men who remain blissfully unaware of how women are treated when they walk down the street. But instead of listening, instead of taking the time to realize how women might feel when men yell at them, these commenters — backed by their anonymity and privilege — have threatened to rape Roberts for daring to talk about it.

Let's lay this out in plain terms. Women are forced to feel uncomfortable and scared for walking down the damn street. Then, when one woman takes the time to show just how uncomfortable those interactions are, people threaten to physically assault her. If the video reminded us that women are constantly made to feel unsafe when they leave the house, the response is a reminder that women are constantly made to feel unsafe when they simply turn on their computer.
The problem here isn't just that men are ignorant of how women are treated. 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.

Offline mayya

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you just never can tell
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2014, 19:42:01 PM »
no, saying hello/venting comments/catcalling/whistling at someone you have never met - especially in public, at someone who is minding his/her own business and not paying you any attention - and basing these actions on appearance is not ok.

saying 'hello' and 'nice' or any other appreciation is not a compliment in these instances, it is an expression of sexual innuendos since it is solely based on appearance : whoever thinks it is a compliment must be made aware that it is not appropriate, actually sounds like an intrusion, unwanted attention and it can also trigger worry and concern when often times it is the beginning of abuse. but you just never can tell.

if these actions were not about sex in the first place, then the 'compliments' taking place in these circumstances should be paid to all and sundry, to children, to younger and older women, to younger and older men, and about anything and everything including someone's intelligence : this situation does not happen because that is not what the 'compliment' is about.

it is about sex and consent and whoever cannot see this is in denial. and as much as someone may buy you a drink if you compliment him/her on their looks in whatever fashion you deem appropriate at the time, that same someone may also slap you across the face, not withstanding all the possible options in between. you just never can tell : it's all about consent.

treating people with respect and dignity is about knowing when you have their acknowledgement, about showing some maturity and thinking before talking : that is what relationships and human interactions are all about – what one has to say may not be what someone else will like to hear or will be in the right state of mind to hear, and again no, it is no ok to say anything any time to anybody and expect the audience to deal with with : that is how people get hurt.

showing signs of civility and respect is to acknowledge that instead of thinking that someone can blurt everything and anything that goes right through their head when they look at someone, they should rather think about keeping it to themselves and maybe share it at a more appropriate time with the right person.

'you dress provocatively so you asked for it'
it does not matter what the person wears : no matter what, women in burqas get groped, whistled at and raped in the middle of town plazas and they do not show any flesh and even if they did show the merest hint of skin, the religious police would be prompt to beat them up with their sticks because a bit of ankle or wrist or even a finger was showing.

it is the person who makes the comment who decides what is provocative : you just never can tell.
so here we are in the opposite situation - nothing shows and yet the abuse takes place.
and what of these cultures were clothing is insignificant or non existent : the lack of clothing does not mean that everyone walks around commenting on each other's shapes and figures, making comments of sexual nature. No, of course it does not, because it has not much to do with clothes, it has to do with respect and how people have accepted to interact in a given society or civilisation, and how people are perceived and considered as human beings, not reduced to the object of someone's unsolicited desires.

consider not being offensive and hurtful - be thoughtful, respectful and attentive : it all starts with consent.