This important new anti-street harassment video was created by filmmaker Pascale Neuschäfer. She lives in Cape Town, South Africa, and she agreed to answer a few questions about herself and the film.
Stop Street Harassment (SSH): Please tell me a bit about yourself and why you decided to make this film.
Pascale Neuschäfer (PN): I am a filmmaker and an actress and I made the promo with the help of my partner and some friends who are interested in gender rights issues and who feel comfortable speaking up about it. I became frustrated not only at the frequency with which incidence of street harassment happen, but at the fact that women are mostly told to ignore it. This included many of my friends (both women and men) who couldn’t see the inherent harm in catcalling. I think this attitude stems largely from ignorance (South Africa having one of the highest rates of gender-based violence in the world, including rape, corrective rape and murder) and from fear: the fear of a public humiliation, as well as the fear of augmented violence when confronting a harasser.
SSH: How has street harassment impacted your own life and what’s inspired your decision to speak out against it?
PN: A defining moment for me was being harassed by a 15 year old boy, who responded very aggressively when I confronted him about his behaviour (I posted this story on your blog a few months ago). Making the 30 second fictional short was an outlet for me, a woman to make the statement: women hate it when men harass us! There is nothing polite, or politically correct about it, because there is nothing polite about being harassed and I feel very strongly that women should speak up. However, I also think there are many women in the world who often cannot speak up (particularly in patriarchal societies like South Africa, where women are brutally murdered and raped, simply for being openly gay) and I think it’s important to engage in open debate about these kind of issues. I also believe that street harassment is just the tip of the iceberg to other, violent gender-based crimes.
SSH: Do you have any future plans regarding street harassment and film?
PN: I am hoping to get funding to make full-length documentary and to start a media campaign (including Public Service Announcements which highlight how violence escalates) , because I have found that even just speaking to my friends (men and women) has had a positive effect on the way we now either DO respond (if we didn’t previously), or in the way in which we CHOOSE to respond.
SSH: Wonderful. You’re doing amazing work with your film and I look forward to seeing what you do next!
For others who are interested in filmmaking and documentaries, check out more anti-street harassment documentaries and films and find tips for making your own!Share on Facebook