Anything that gets viewed more than 16,000,000 times over a four-day period is bound to garner a response. But the YouTube sensation, “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman” released by Hollaback! earlier this week received some responses that weren’t expected and were far more concerning than most could have imagined.
Most of the conversation surrounding the video has been positive. The video has provided validation for many women who have dealt with street harassment on an ongoing basis and it has provided a forum for men to expand their understanding of what it is like to walk around a city alone as a woman. But, disturbingly, the video has also resulted in a slew of rape and death threats directed at the actress in the video.
Hollaback! released a statement yesterday addressing this unfortunate and troubling situation:
"There has been another problem which deserves further attention: the onslaught of rape and death threats that have been directed at the Shoshana B. Roberts, the subject of the video, are unacceptable but sadly unsurprising. When women are visible in online or offline spaces, they experience harassment. When women demand change, they meet violent demands for their silence. We understand that violence exists on a spectrum that is played out on the street and online. We understand that it needs to change. We hope that you will work with us to end street harassment and to fight harassment wherever it is found."
The violent reaction to the film is unsettling, to say the very least, but it is also indicative of the type of behavior the film seeks to change. For now, Hollaback! is requesting that supporters send in any threats they see via email, tweet, or screenshot so that the office can file police reports.