A woman walks down the street, keeping to herself. A man catcalls her; she keeps walking. "What, you don't wanna talk?" the man hollers.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
A new American public service announcement that's gone viral is helping to expose the prevalence of harassment women face each day simply by walking down the street.
A man hid a GoPro camera in his background and walked in front of a woman named Shoshana B. Roberts, capturing more than 100 instances of catcalling, unsolicited compliments, whistles, leers and general harassment over the course of 10 hours in New York City. Several men also followed Roberts for a few blocks; one silently walked alongside her for up to five minutes. (Roberts was a volunteer for this video, not an unwitting suspect.)
“I’m harassed when I smile and I’m harassed when I don’t,” Roberts tells NBC. “Not a day goes by when I don’t experience this.”
The video is further proof of the daily harassment that women experience. However, YouTube commenters and Redditors are bashing the footage, insisting the video is overly sensitive and that men saying "have a good evening" is harmless and should not be considered verbal harassment.
The segment was created by marketing agency Rob Bliss Creative for Hollaback, a campaign that aims to end street harassment.
Studies show that between 70% and 99% of women experience street harassment at some point during their lives, according to data received from Hollaback by NBC.
Bliss also spoke with NBC, saying that men often do not see "the effects of catcalling."
“They see it as just an innocent compliment but are missing the forest for the trees,” he says. “I intentionally left out any messaging and just laid bare what it's like, so that everyone could objectively see the reality of this problem.”
In Australia, four in five women have experienced unwanted sexual advances at least once in their lives, with the majority of the incidents unreported. According to the Human Rights Commission, 28% of women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, compared to 7% of men.
While the effects of catcalling is often downplayed, recent research published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies shows long term impact is prevalent: "The harm of sexual violence is not always directly correlated with the perceived seriousness of the behaviour. Individual women experience forms of sexual violence differently. The context behaviour occurs in also plays a role in mediating its harm."