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No to harassment

Anne-Sophie Brändlin
October 31, 2014

A video of a woman who experiences more than 100 instances of sexual harassment while walking in New York City has gone viral. It's the latest online campaign against sexual harassment. Here are our top five.

Screenshot -Youtube 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman
Image: youtube/Street HarassmentVideo

Catcalls, sexist remarks, insults, and even groping or flashing. Many women have experienced a form of public sexual harassment at some point in their lives.

A recent study by the nonprofit organization Stop Street Harassment found that 65 percent of the women it surveyed in the United States say they have experienced street harassment at least once in their lives.

Now more and more women are speaking out against sexual street harassment. And they are turning to social media to bring the issue to the forefront.

Several campaigns have become viral on the Web. Many sexual harassment victims say social media has helped them feel less alone and ashamed by bringing women from all over the world together to tackle it and speak out against the practice.

1. New Yorker records street harassments with hidden camera

The most recent viral campaign shows 24 year old actress Shoshana B. Roberts walking in New York City. The video, filmed over the course of 10 hours, captured over one hundred situations in which Roberts was sexually harassed on the street by strangers - from catcalls and sexually explicit comments on her physical appearance, to being followed.

The YouTube video had been viewed over 17 million times and has received over 80,000 comments within the two days of its release. Some criticized Roberts, saying what she experienced wasn't street harassment but just nice compliments and an expression of interest.

Roberts has also received numerous rape threats, but there has also been an incredible amount of support.

2. British woman speaks out against everyday sexism

After experiencing sexual harassment on a London bus and being shocked by the fact that no one on that bus stood up for her, Laura Bates decided to speak out against everyday sexism, which she believes is often considered socially acceptable.

She didn't want women to blame themselves for being sexually harassed or to be shamed into silence, so she created a webiste that catalogues everyday stories of women being sexually harassed. The Everyday Sexism Project is now in 19 countries, and its aim is to make the amount of sexism visible all over the world.

After the project was picked up by the media, Bates received death and rape threats. But in a Chime for Change video (above), Laura Bates says social media has been instrumental in bringing the issue to the forefront.

"You can't silence somebody when they have 25,000 other voices behind them saying: 'I believe you and it's happened to me, too'," she says.

3. New Zealand study group parodies Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines

US singer Robin Thicke didn't just get famous as a chart-topper with "Blurred Lines." The song also earned him "Sexist of the Year" title by the "End Violence Against Women Coalition." Critics deemed the controversial lyrics of "Blurred Lines" sexist and argued that his choice of words came very close to promoting non-consensual sex.

In response to Thicke's song and video, a group of New Zealand law students from Auckland University created a parody video, "Defined Lines," which reverses the gender roles by objectifying men.

The parody video was briefly taken down from YouTube due to inappropriate sexual content but was quickly restored after its removal was described as a massive double standard by the media.

The video has been viewed more than five million times.

4. French short film reverses gender roles

"Oppressed Majority," a short film by French director Eleonore Pourriat, follows a "houseman" during a normal day in Paris. The gender roles are switched, and the film exposes the man to prejudice, sexual abuse, as well as verbal and physical street harassment. Pourriat's film asks what it would be like if men lived in a society ruled by women.

The YouTube version has been watched over 11 million times and has been tweeted and shared on Facebook all over the world.

5. Creepers on an Egyptian bridge

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women published a report stating that 99.3 percent of Egyptian women have reported some form of sexual harassment, mostly unwanted touching and verbal sexual harassment.

So two filmmakers, Colette Ghunim and Tinne Van Loon, decided to shed light on the issue, which they describe as "the newest epidemic in Egypt." They are currently working on a documentary about Egyptian women facing sexual harassment on the streets of Cairo, from stares to vulgar comments and even assault.

To raise awareness for their upcoming documentary, "The People's Girls," they released a short online clip titled "Creepers on the Bridge." The video shows Ghunim crossing a bridge in Cairo by herself and receiving intense stares and comments by men.

The video spread quickly and helped raise awareness for their Kickstarter campaign, raising money for the full documentary, which will be released in January 2015.