By: Hillary Schulman
I am angry. Why in this world does no one listen to each other or themselves? I have recently seen a video entitled, “What 10 Hours of Street Harassment Looks Like” in which a woman, dressed in regular clothes, walks around New York City for 10 hours and records what happens. In those 10 hours, the woman received countless unwanted advances including whistling, catcalls, and men trying to get her to smile. What I want to know is in the few seconds that it takes to make a woman uncomfortable, why doesn’t the thought of, “Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t…. I don’t know her story” go through the man’s head? They think they’re being nice, but instead they are making women uncomfortable. No one – and I mean no one – deserves to feel unsafe in his or her surroundings.
I am confused. I wrote a blog a few months ago about social media, how it can be deceiving that we actually care about a certain topic and that people should actually do something about those topics if they genuinely care. Well this woman did do something about it. So why don’t people listen? Why don’t more people stand up for the people who are being harassed? We share the videos and we see the evidence, but nothing is done about it.
I am regressing. I remember one summer during college when I worked at a grassroots organization and went door to door raising money for a non-political campaign. We would go in groups to different areas of Boston and surrounding areas and then individually to neighborhoods to canvass. We would walk around from 3:00pm until 8 or 8:30pm by ourselves in these areas with no way to get back unless everyone left together. I remember one day we went out in a thunderstorm, and they didn’t allow us to return to the headquarters. Another time in Allston, I experienced what this woman in the video experienced: five hours of being uncomfortable in my surroundings with people telling me to smile and letting me know they’ve been watching me with no way to protect myself; it’s unnerving.
We can change. In my last blog, I mention that we are able to change our ways. People aren’t only sharing and forgetting. They are sharing and expecting us to do something about it. Take responsibility for your actions – I’m talking to you Michael Che. Let’ s make this a world in which we don’t fear for our children’s lives if they want to walk to the park – a world where men and women can walk in New York City without someone actively disrupting their peace of mind.