Sometimes an object lesson is the best education, although in this case, it would've been much better if it had never happened. On Friday, BBC Radio Nottingham posted a video to its Facebook page of an unaired TV segment on street harassment, which apparently culminated in a textbook example. While reciting statistics about women who suffer sexist verbal abuse in public, as well as those who're physically groped on the street, BBC reporter Sarah Teale was herself street harassed, demonstrating the dismal state of affairs in about as up-front, gross, and personal a way as possible.
It happened in Nottingham, where Teale was filming outside a conference on harassment of women. If it weren't such a serious issue, it'd almost seem farcical — random man verbally harasses reporter discussing harassment outside of a conference on harassment. The video of the incident is below — the actual comment the man made was bleeped out, but Teale's reaction pretty well tells the tale.
Teale: An online study showed a shocking 95 percent of people said they have been harassed, either jeered at, or had obscenities shouted at them in the street. And a large proportion said they'd also been groped or grabbed inappropriately in public.
Teale: Yeah, like that.
After having the ostensibly crude comment hurled at her, Teale could only shrug. It could've been disbelief, or perhaps, simple disgust. But this much is certain: what happened to her is the exact sort of thing that happens to women in cities and towns around the world each day, most all of whom don't have the relative comfort and security provided by a camera crew.
And if you want a demonstration of why so many women acutely fear these moments, and feel forced to brace for them when they've got someplace to be, that's a pretty vivid illustration — consider that this guy wasn't deterred by the fact that Teale was plainly being filmed. Perhaps he was even egged on?
Teale commented on the incident on Twitter, noting the intense level of irony. However, as the BBC noted, some people weren't convinced enough to give the benefit of the doubt on this, even with it caught on camera — some on social media responded by claiming the entire thing was staged. In other words, as always: we've got a long ways to go, folks.
Image: BBC Radio Nottingham/Facebook