The subject of a viral video showing the pervasiveness of street harassment is now receiving rape threats in the comments section of the video, the organization behind the video tweeted.
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
The video, created by Rob Bliss Creative for anti-street harassment group Hollaback! and shot by a hidden camera in New York City, shows an actress being harassed more than 100 times over 10 hours -- including one instance where a harasser walks beside her silently for more than five minutes.
Here's how Hollaback! defines street harassment:
Street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces. It exists on a spectrum including “catcalling” or verbal harassment, stalking, groping, public masturbation, and assault. At its core is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces. Further, it reinforces the ubiquitous sexual objectification of these groups in everyday life.
The video has taken off online, with more than 5 million views in the day it has been online. But reading the comments can be pretty depressing, as many commenters identify with the harassers or blame the actress in the video for wearing "provocative" clothing.
She was wearing a dark, crew-neck T-shirt and jeans.
Hollaback's plea to Twitter followers seems to have cleared out some of the most disturbing comments, including the rape threats. "Our community is reporting the threats on YouTube and they're being deleted," Hollaback deputy director Debjani Roy told amNewYork.
But rape threats and sexually charged criticism is part of the unfortunate status quo of young womens' online lives. A recent Pew Research survey showed that 25 percent of female Internet users in the United States between ages 18 and 24 had personally experienced sexual harassment -- nearly twice the percentage of men in the same age group and more than four times as often as Internet users at large.
Pew found that while men were slightly more likely to face some sort of online harassment overall, young women were far more likely to be faced with the more "severe" and traumatizing types.