Statement about recent street harassment PSA

New York City, NY (30th October, 2014) – When the street harassment video was launched earlier this week, we hoped that it would make an impact but never imagined that it would be viewed more than 15,000,000 times in the first three days. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Many women feel a little less alone and a little more validated in their experiences and we have heard support from our partners, new and old.

Rob Bliss Creative donated time and labor to create this video and support our work. We are grateful for his work and the wide reach that his video has achieved but we feel the need to directly address other responses to the video.

First, we regret the unintended racial bias in the editing of the video that over represents men of color. Although we appreciate Rob’s support, we are committed to showing the complete picture. It is our hope and intention that this video will be the start of a series to demonstrate that the type of harassment we’re concerned about is directed toward women of all races and ethnicities and conducted by an equally diverse population of men.

Hollaback! understands that harassment is a broad problem perpetuated by a diversity of individuals regardless of race. There is no one profile for a harasser and harassment comes in many different forms. Check out our Harassment Is: Identities and Street Harassment guide on how individuals experience harassment differently.  This video should have done a better job of representing this knowledge.

There are many more voices to add to this conversation and Hollaback! is committed to continuing to make space for those voices by providing platforms and amplification of people sharing their stories and finding ways to push back.

Second, there has been another problem which deserves further attention: the onslaught of rape and death threats that have been directed at the Shoshana B. Roberts, the subject of the video, are unacceptable but sadly unsurprising. When women are visible in online or offline spaces, they experience harassment. When women demand change, they meet violent demands for their silence.

We understand that violence exists on a spectrum that is played out on the street and online. We understand that it needs to change. We hope that you will work with us to end street harassment and to fight harassment wherever it is found.

Third, the coverage that this video has received shows how far we have come and how far we still have to go. Many outlets have used the video to have conversations about street harassment that would never have happened even five years ago. For many, street harassment is a real problem to be reported as such.

Other coverage, however, shows that sexism still shapes culture in a way that harms women. When journalists on major news networks reinforce, support, and normalize street harassment they minimize the violence and fear that women experience on the street.

We want to thank everyone for participating in this vital dialogue — and we encourage continued conversation and debate.

 

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24 Responses

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  1. […] If you’re interested in reading the statement from Hollaback! (NYC), who was involved in the PSA, their statement can be found here. […]

  2. Jim. says:

    <3 Keep up the fight.

  3. JEMC says:

    I’ve never had this kind of experience and haven’t understood it, especially the fear women say they experience. (I am a 65 year old white woman.) Watching this, when men walked alongside her, I experienced the fear.

    It is offensive that most of the offending men in the video are of color. I believe heard Shoshanna say on tv that it’s just that “for some reason” white men didn’t show up on the video as well. This makes it understandable that some believe the message is muddied by the appearance of racism. I believe all women experience this treatment regardless of race and I’d like to see the same experiment done with a comparably beautiful black woman. It would at the very least demonstrate good faith from a race standpoint.

  4. […] There has been a great deal of press coverage of Hollaback! this week with the explosion of the viral video. If you haven’t yet read our statement regarding the recent street harassment PSA you may do so here. […]

  5. […] For the statement on the video from Hollaback! headquarters see here. […]

  6. […] For the statement on the video from Hollaback! headquarters see here. […]

  7. […] And Hollaback itself issued a statement yesterday that first apologized for the racial imbalance and also went after all of those threatening Roberts. In that statement, Emily May says: […]

  8. […] no doubt it’s expanding the conversation about street harassment — but even as we do that, we can hold Hollaback and the video’s creator accountable for the choices they […]

  9. […] able to fast-forward cause you won’t be able to at the link). Hollaback, who created the video, offers a statement in response to these […]

  10. […] for its part, issued a statement Thursday assuring viewers that it never meant to portray street harassment as a problem perpetuated […]

  11. […] its 16-million-plus YouTube views suggest, the video — despite presenting problems of its own with its execution — resonated with many women who have to endure such unsolicited comments on a daily basis, […]

  12. […] its 16-million-plus YouTube views suggest, the video — despite presenting problems of its own with its execution — resonated with many women who have to endure such unsolicited comments on a daily basis, […]

  13. […] its 16-million-plus YouTube views suggest, the video — despite presenting problems of its own with its execution — resonated with many women who have to endure such unsolicited comments on a daily basis, […]

  14. […] Thursday organization Hollaback! printed a commentary on its website additionally addressing the accusations of racial prejudice within the […]

  15. […] not to mention simply unsafe and unwelcome. While the video obviously garnered millions of allies, Roberts continued to receive harassing emails and even death threats for simply highlighting an everyday experience for millions of American women. A second video from […]

  16. […] posted a response to this line of criticism, and the director addressed the issue in an interview. Roberts, like […]

  17. […] posted a response to this line of criticism, and the director addressed the issue in an interview. Roberts, like […]

  18. […] Hollaback! NYC issued a statement last Thursday about the video and Executive Director Emily May (a badass whom I admire) issued a formal apology detailing Hollaback’s immediate plans to do better by creating more videos showing diverse experiences of street harassment. […]

  19. […] Hollaback! NYC issued a statement last Thursday about the video and Executive Director Emily May (a badass whom I admire) issued a formal apology detailing Hollaback’s immediate plans to do better by creating more videos showing diverse experiences of street harassment. […]

  20. […] sitting in chairs on the street as if they have nothing to do but harass women. (Hollaback later apologized for editing out many of the white men who’d engaged in the same behavior, calling it […]

  21. […] sitting in chairs on the street as if they have nothing to do but harass women. (Hollaback later apologized for editing out many of the white men who’d engaged in the same behavior, calling it […]

  22. […] sitting in chairs on the street as if they have nothing to do but harass women. (Hollaback later apologized for editing out many of the white men who’d engaged in the same behavior, calling it […]

  23. […] and elsewhere — and seek to “open the conversation [and] make it broader.” Hollaback has responded to the criticism, pledging to create a video series “to show the complete, overall picture” of […]

  24. […] was black or Latino — and the filmmaker admitted many white men were edited out — Hollaback got its own public lesson on the importance of diversity, […]

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