People Are Thanking Gigi Hadid for Fighting Harassment Against Women

September 22nd 2016

Laura Donovan

Model Gigi Hadid started an important conversation on social media after condemning a prankster who picked her up without permission outside of a fashion show in Italy.

Vitalii Sediuk, the man who grabbed her, has accosted other celebrities before, including Bradley Cooper and Kim Kardashian. Following her own incident, Hadid expressed on Twitter that she had a right to defend herself against a stranger who touched her without consent:

It's also important to know that while Hadid does in fact have every right to defend herself, self defense for women is only a stop-gap measure to deal with harassment or assault. Focusing on self-defense placed the onus to stop harassment and sexual assault on women and detracts from the root of the issue: people not practicing (or understanding) consent.

Others on Twitter brought up this issue as well, commenting that this is an important reminder that women's bodies are not there for strangers to grab on a whim. That this kind of behavior is an example of harassment:

A lot of women have spoken out about being physically harassed in public places.

Two years ago, the Everyday Sexism Project launched the hashtag #grabbed to enable women to share their horror stories of being touched without permission by others. The experiences women shared were very troubling:

Everyday sexism founder Laura Bates wrote in a 2014 piece for The Guardian that both victims and perpetrators alike may not realize that grabbing someone between the legs or groping someone's breasts is considered harassment. Part of the reason for this, she argued, is that some women are just desensitized to this kind of behavior:

"It's time for that to change. This is a shift we can all be a part of, whether reporting incidents when they happen to us, stepping in as bystanders to send a clear message that it isn't socially acceptable, supporting victims to feel able to report or educating young people."