Amy Guth proved her point to a colleague who thought she was exaggerating street harassment against women when women on Twitter shared stories of comments and actions by strangers that they received just for existing.
It started when her John Williams retweeted an instance of street harassment that Guth experienced with the comment “Does any of this stuff really happen?”
Women of internet: my colleague keeps insisting I can’t possibly be telling the truth re instances of street harassment and other comments from strangers. Pls feel free to @ him as many stories of street harassment or commentary from strangers as you’d like to share. Thanks! https://t.co/jV6siaOpR8
— Amy Guth (@amyguth) June 13, 2018
Women of Twitter assured him that yes, it does. Stories of being groped in public on a Saturday afternoon to compliments of a fully-clothed woman’s nipples were shared by women from all walks of life to show Williams that street harassment affects all of us.
Some of the commenters said that they shouldn’t have to feel the burden of enlightening Williams. “The stories are out there; he just doesn’t care to hear them,” said one comment. Another person replied “Why do we have to perform for another dude who clearly has not been listening?”
As women dug deeper into Williams’ life, they found he was an avid Trump supporter that wasn’t afraid to share his conservative views via Twitter. Despite that, the tweet still sits with close to 100 comments of women sharing different cases of street harassment.
A study by Cornell University found that the majority of women experience first experience street harassment at the age of 13 or 14. According to Stop Street Harassment, the issue is even worse in LGBTQ+ communities.
A 2014 National Report on Street Harassment called the issue “a significant problem in the United States” with 65% of women saying that they had experienced street harassment in their lives.
The issue of street harassment went viral a few years ago with Hollaback’s video of a women walking the streets of New York City. In the video, you can see how strangers comment on her appearance or even follow her. The video was shot secretly to receive organize reactions to her presence.
-"Is it because I'm ugly?"
-"Yeah, it is"
honestly, this video had me screaming. pic.twitter.com/JMSBIiD5DI
— nañi (@pettyblackgirI) December 21, 2016
The 2014 report mentioned above gave some ideas on how to lessen the severity of street harassment. Many people recommended security cameras and educational workshops on the issue to influence people to be more respectful of one another. Even just saying something when you see street harassment and standing up for the victim is one empowering way to curb the issue.