Read the responses of three bystanders on the What Would You Do show on street harassment, four bystander stories submitted to the Stop Street Harassment blog, and three bystander stories from the 2009 Stop Street Harassment male allies survey.
ABC did a segment of their What Would You Do show on street harassment. Even as the harassers escalated, most people nearby did nothing, but three people did.
Bystander #1 (you can see this exchange in the video clip):
“You don’t treat people that way. It’s wrong,” one man said to the harassers.
“You are disrespecting this woman here. If you have a problem with her, you’re going to have a problem with me. Anyone who wants to be tough just stand up,” the man said.
“She’s flirting,” one of our actors said.
“She ain’t flirting,” the man shot back. “She’s over here and you guys are bothering her. Leave.”
“Why don’t you get your lunch and take a hike” said one man.
He happened to be a construction manager who told us [ABC] that he sees a lot of what he called “shenanigans.”
“One, two, three of you picking on her?” he asked. “What are you guys doing? What is this?”
He told our construction workers that one day they might have a daughter and asked them if they would want somebody else to treat her the way they were treating our actress.
“I’m sure she has a father that wouldn’t appreciate that,” he said
“I don’t have a daughter and until then I’m going to have some fun,” one of our fake construction worker replied.
As the abuse continued from our workers, he decided the best thing to do would be to walk our actress away from the scene. When we caught up with him, he told us, “I saw one guy grabbing for her. If it went any further, I would probably have to lay him out,” he said.
Here are four stories submitted to the Stop Street Harassment Blog where bystanders did something:
1. Upon noticing young men “eve teasing” a young woman walking by herself from the university bookstore in Delhi, India, Prakeet and his friend described how they took non-confrontational action. “We hurriedly went to the girl, passing by the boys, and started walking by her sides. At first she didn’t notice, perhaps because she was busy in figuring out how to get out of the mess she was in. Soon she noticed the halt in lewd remarks and two fellows walking along her sides and joking about their school life. The boys following her were still following us. I think it was instincts more than understanding that the girl realized that we were there just to help.I passed a smile to her and she returned it back. Within no time we reached Metro Station. Not saying much she thanked us for our help. We parted our ways. She went off to catch a bus while we took the Metro. This was the first time I ever took such a step and perhaps the first time I ever saw eve-teasing and dared to intervene before it could turn ugly.”
2. CJ in Walsall, UK, wrote: “I have been walking to work with a friend and she has been shouted at, verbally harassed, had drivers slow down whilst passing her and, when in my car, other drivers make rude gestures and shout at her…The worst behaviour has been from the contractors working on the roadworks outside our office. After reading some of this website last night, I went over to the workmen, whilst they were staring and letching at my friend and told them to stop as it was threatening and unwelcome. I then went back into the office, called the company involved and reported the complaint to the director and backed it up with an email. I have received an email response stating that they would investigate my complaint and proceed with disciplinary action where appropriate. My friend was scared and didn’t feel able to say anything to the contractors; I asked her if it was OK for me to speak up for her and she said yes. We wait to see if their behaviour changes…
3. TBG in Delhi, India, moved and blocked the view of men ogling a 13-year-old girl at a takeaway restaurant.
4. Mr. MRS in New York City, NY, made flirtatious gestures at harassers, pretending like he thought they were harassing him. That silenced the harassers.
And three more stories from men who took the 2009 Stop Street Harassment male allies survey:
5. “A young woman was on a metro train and a couple of teenagers started to tell her in explicit and profane language what they wanted to do to her. I told them they needed to leave her alone …They did and moved on. I was happy to see that a couple of other men surrounding us on the train told me that they had my back should things have gone violent.”
6. “A woman was being leered at out of a car as she crossed the street (in front of the car). I was walking just behind her…My intervention was rather quiet – I interposed by body between her and the car, falling somewhat behind her as we neared the other side, in order to stay between her and the men.”
7. “On public trains if I see a man staring down a woman and she seems scared I have locked eyes with him and started a conversation with a woman so she won’t seem alone. My intervening has more so been making my presence as a third party known.”