The frustrating stories in this video (including the one involving a woman walking her baby in a stroller, which you can hear at the 2:15 mark) are familiar to many of us women. It has nothing to do with how we look or what we wear or where we live. Ten years ago, I didn't know what it was called. I just knew that I felt uncomfortable walking past men on the street and that no matter how many times I rolled my eyes, ignored it, or furiously responded, it wouldn't stop. Now, thanks to women like the ones featured in this video, I know that this sexist behavior has a name. And that my sisters have my back.
Gloria Mallone: I feel very angry because it's unnecessary, it's often very rude, the comments are sexist, sexual. Sometimes it happen right in front of my daughter, so she asks me what they're saying and what this means and all that so it makes me angry, it makes me uncomfortable, and sometimes its very scary.
Jamia Wilson: When I've been harassed in the street, I've really felt dehumanized. I think that there is a moment when you recognize that you're just going about your business and then when someone harasses you, it makes you feel like an object or, um, some or another way just disrespected on a most basic human level.
Feminista Jones: I've been experiencing street harassment since I was 12 years old, 11, 12 years old. Some of the worst experiences have happened in this neighborhood. I can think of a time recently where I was just walking down this street and uh a group of young men, teenagers, young boys, teenagers, yelled out at me about how they wanted to perform oral sex on me and they said it rather nastily. I stopped, I turned around, they acted like they didn't, but I kept going and they said it again. Luckily another man intervened and asked questions like, "Why are you doing this?" That never happens so I was shocked by that.
Jamia Wilson: Bystander intervention, I think is important, I think it's important for that person to think about whether they feel safe and if they feel if they're in a position of safety that they can support but if they do feel that they have a position of safety where they can raise their voice and help out as a bystander or a witness or to even capture picture or a video of what's happening, that could be very important in terms of: one helping me feel supported but also to taking a stand against the behavior and letting the attacker know that it's not OK.
Feminista Jones: I think as men, and even as other women, we can easily just ask the victim like, "Are you ok?" And I started this idea of You OK Sis? because I had an experience where I saw a man harassing a woman who was pushing a stroller and she seemed really uncomfortable and I went up to her and I just said, "Are you OK, sis?" And she seemed relieved and she was like, "Yeah. I'm OK. I'm OK." And he was really bothered by me intervening, but I just feel that in that moment I made my presence known and I gave her someone to rely on and I think that if more of us just simply asked that question, "Are you OK?" that it kind of makes the person doing the harassing kind of stop and think, "You know what? Maybe I should leave this person alone." It could turn into an argument, it could be whatever, but at least the person in the situation is not alone.