Justice

Woman's Shocking Harassment Story is Something Everyone Needs to Read (Especially Men)

May 12th 2017

By:
Ethan Simon

A series of viral tweets about a woman's harrowing encounter on the bus recently went viral, with many women chiming in to share similar experiences.

Nathalie Gordon's tweet thread, which she posted on May 4, demonstrated the remarkable harassment women face every day— and the remarkable apathy of bystanders.

Gorden, then, wrote that she attempted to get the bus driver to do something about the man, but to no avail:

The implication that pretty girls ought to expect sexual harassment is obviously troubling, and in the rest of the thread, Gordon goes on to outline the kind of treatment she expects in that sort of situation.​

The full thread goes on to express Gordon's support for victims of harassment and identify steps they can take as recourse.

Many other women identified similar experiences, as well, in response to Gordon.

The outpouring of women speaking up on their experiences shows that Gordon's story is far from unique.

Street harassment is an extremely common occurrence for women the world over.

About "65 percent of all women had experienced street harassment. Among all women, 23 percent had been sexually touched, 20 percent had been followed, and 9 percent had been forced to do something sexual," according to a 2014 survey conducted by Stop Street Harassment, a non-profit dedicated to ending gender-based public harassment. The phenomenon is surprisingly common among men, too, though obviously less common than among women. Per the study, "among men, 25 percent had been street harassed (a higher percentage of LGBT-identified men than heterosexual men reported this)..."

And something about public transportation — whether it's the close quarters, or the impossibility of escape — seems to bring some of the worst in harassers. According to the Wall Street Journal, 2016 saw a 50 percent rise in sexual harassment claims on the New York City subway— though that could mean that more women are feeling empowered to report the crimes.

woman

Indeed, if the recent stories out of Fox News are any indication, harassment is rampant, and women often don't feel empowered to speak up. "Only a quarter to a third of people who have been harassed at work report it to a supervisor or union representative, and 2 percent to 13 percent file a formal complaint," according to the New York Times.

Gordon's story has a message not just for harassers - but for bystanders, as well.

As abhorrent as the harasser in her story is, the apathetic bus driver isn't much better. Gordon's story demonstrates the need for engaged empathetic bystanders who choose to value the victim's safety.

For resources on how to respond to a harassment situation, look at Stop Street Harassment's guide to bystander responses.