In praise of . . . Shoshana B Roberts

Documentary shows pervasiveness of street harassment in New York

Actor Shoshana B Roberts spent a day walking around New York for non-profit organisation Hollaback! Photograph: Peter Morgan/AP Photo

Actor Shoshana B Roberts spent a day walking around New York for non-profit organisation Hollaback! Photograph: Peter Morgan/AP Photo

 

When you stare street harassment in the eye, it doesn’t look like the light-hearted banter some would have us believe.

Actor Shoshana B Roberts spent a day walking around New York for non-profit organisation Hollaback! and the resulting video footage went viral. It has now notched up more than 10 million hits on YouTube.

Not surprising, given the magnitude of the hassle on show – 108 catcalls, whistles and unsolicited comments .

“Somebody is acknowledging you for being beautiful – you should say thank you,” Roberts was told by one irritator.

“There is so much footage that people haven’t seen – and that’s just one day. It didn’t document the month before, when I was groped,” she said.

The constant unasked-for comments limit her and keep her in fear, Roberts added.

She is not alone – in New York or any other place on the planet.

This uncomfortable watch has spawned rape threats and thousands of hateful comments about Roberts on social media.

Christine Quinn, New York’s Democratic candidate for mayor, launched Hollaback!’s improved app this week. It will allow victims to report street harassment via smartphone.

You might notice that all the unsolicited comments are from men. Just saying.

Maybe it is time to Hollaback!

youtube.com/watch?v=b1XGPvbWn0A