Michelle’s Story – Seeing isn’t always believing

Why did you make this video? We think videos are an awesome tool to raise awareness about the realities of street harassment. This video is the third in a series. Each video aims to explore a different experience with street harassment. The first video, “10 Hours Walking in NYC as a Woman”, demonstrated the sheer number of times women are harassed in public space. The second video, “My Sexual Assault: On the Train and in The Media”, depicted one survivor’s, Elisa’s, experience with street harassment. This third video encourages us to listen to and believe the experiences of each individual.Who created this video?

Hollaback! sought out Aden Hakimi to direct this video because of his experience working with a queer filmmaking collective. With Hollaback!’s guidance and feedback, Aden shot and edited the video. He worked closely with Michelle Charles, the supporter in the video, to incorporate her experiences with street harassment into the narrative of the video.

Is Michelle’s experience unique?

The experience of street harassment is different for everyone.  Street harassment disproportionately impacts women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and young people.  These forms of harassment are not just sexist — but also racist and homophobic in nature. For more information on how harassment impacts people differently, please read our guide on street harassment and identity called #harassmentis.

What is street harassment?

Street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces. At its core is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces. Further, it reinforces the ubiquitous sexual objectification of these groups in everyday life. At Hollaback!, we believe that what specifically counts as street harassment is determined by those who experience it. While there is always the classic, “Hey baby, nice tits!”, there are many other forms that go unnoted. If you feel like you have been harassed, HOLLABACK!

So you want to criminalize street harassment, right?

No. We believe that it is our role as advocates to steer policy makers away from measures that would increase criminalization, and toward measures that engage communities in prevention.

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