THIS is what it’s like to walk down the street in New York as a woman.
Shocking hidden camera footage shows actor Shoshana Roberts being verbally harassed more than 100 times in 10 hours.
What was she doing to deserve it? Walking silently, dressed in plain black jeans and a T-shirt.
The confronting video shows men of all races and backgrounds staring, pointing, shouting and even following Shoshana down the street.
New York woman harassed 100 times in 10 hours of walking
Men repeatedly shouted in her face from close range. Source: YouTube
She is faced with a barrage of familiar comments including “Hey baby”, “Damn” and “How you doing, sexy?”
Some of the men become aggressive, ordering her to “Smile!” and demanding she “say thank you” for their attention.
Director Rob Bliss, 26, from Chicago, said the harassment even reached the level of stalking, with one man following Shoshana for five minutes.
Their behaviour is patently intimidating. Source: YouTube
“By the end, we felt sick to our stomachs, we were beaten down,” he told news.com.au. “We were exhausted. Shoshana was real tough, she handled it well.”
The video hails from the group Hollaback, which aims to end street harassment globally. It features sections as wideranging as Croatia to Chicago, to our own backyard.
Hollaback Melbourne’s chapter is full of women reporting abuse, including “He followed me up and down the aisle…”, “I was walking to catch the bus to work when I heard someone running behind me” and “ … I know it’s just small things, but no one should have to feel this way, not in Melbourne, Sydney or anywhere…”.
The unsolicited comments continue throughout the day. Source: YouTube
“He said ‘hello girls‘ in a really sleazy voice, followed by ‘be careful, you know where you are’”, wrote one scared user.
“I went for a quick walk … and as I passed a man on the street he asked me, “Want sex?” wrote another.
The video follows a similar effort on the streets of Cairo, when a woman secretly filmed men leering at her on her iPhone.
Rob was inspired to make the film after hearing about his girlfriend being harassed on the street. But he said he came to the project with “wide eyes”, unsure if he would get any material.
“I’m not an activist, I don’t know much about women’s rights, I’m just a guy.”
Director Rob filmed Shoshana with a hidden camera on his back. Source: YouTube
In the event, he was shocked by the sheer volume of “terrorisation”.
Shoshana was less surprised. “I’m harassed when I smile and I’m harassed when I don’t,” she said. “I’m harassed by white men, black men, Latino men. Not a day goes by when I don’t experience this.”
The actor was instructed not to respond to any comments and to just keep walking, a “mentally and physically draining” task.
Rob walked in front with a Go Pro camera on a chest harness attached to his back, concealed by a black T-shirt with a hole cut in it.
She endured constant shouts about her appearance. Source: YouTube
He dressed in gym gear so he wouldn’t look as though he had anything to do with Shoshana.
“Shoshana was instructed not to say or do anything,” he said. “Some people might be too scared to react, especially if they are physically weaker than a man.
“There’s a vulnerability that most men don’t get to experience, when people are leering over you.
“I’m hoping that people, men in particular, will see how they fit in. They don’t see all the other times a girl hears that same stuff.”
One man walked beside her down the street for five minutes. Source: YouTube
The 26-year-old produced the video in conjunction with Hollaback!, a movement to end street harassment.
“Street harassment happens everywhere,” said the organisation. “Like all forms of gender-based violence, street harassers fall evenly across lines of race and class.
“It’s important to keep in mind that is this video only captures verbal harassment.
“The harassment that people of colour and LGBTQ individuals face is oftentimes more severe and more likely to escalate into violence.”
To find out more or to donate to Hollaback!, visit their website. Find out more about Rob’s work here.
Shoshana said verbal harassment was a daily occurrence for her. Source: YouTube
Now, it’s time for some spoofs of this video. As this video went viral, many people decided to make their own versions of this video.
10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Lamborghini
10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Man
10 Hours Walking in NYC as a Woman (Parody) – She Ain’t Playin’
10 Hours of Walking in LA as a Black Man