By now the story of Cyan Brown, the 16 year old who fatally stabbed a man on Thursday, has been heard around the city. Chased by “seven or eight” men who were trying to drag her off the train and sexually assault her, Cyan had two options: fight back or get hurt.
Like all of us, Cyan had probably been harassed and maybe even assaulted before. She knew what it meant to have lewd comments made about her body. Perhaps she had been stalked before, or been the unwilling witness to public masturbation. Like all of us, Cyan knew very well what the long term emotional impact of harassment and assault felt like, and this time she wanted a different ending.
When we ask our readers why the ‘hollaback,’ the most frequent response is that they were tired of “doing nothing.” This makes sense. Harassment and assault are on a spectrum of violence against women. A study of rape victims found that the ones that fought back – even if they were unsuccessful – were less likely to be depressed or have PTSD afterwards. Fighting back, it seems, is good for you. The problem is – we shouldn’t have to.
While we at HollabackNYC do not support violence in any form, Cyan had no other options. When violence is the only answer, something is terribly, terribly wrong with our city.
We stand in solidarity with Cyan and her family during this difficult time.