Sexual harassment has become a regular topic in the news these days, and its widespread nature is reflective of the broad societal problems rather than acts of individual misconduct. From verbal abuse to being followed, from unwanted sexual comments to physical assault, the stories are strikingly similar, regardless of the geography. While the governments around the world have recognised this problem and have started to take a tougher stand against it, sexual harassment in public spaces remains a largely neglected issue.
Recently, a viral video emerged that showed a young saleswoman, who had been handing out flyers, pinning a man to the ground with her foot as she accused him of pestering her in public. The footage appears to be taken from Ribeirao Preto city centre, south east Brazil.
The woman started shouting at the unidentified man on the pavement and told him that she is fed up of being ‘touched and sexually harassed while just doing her job.’ However, a crowd of onlookers watched on.
The man begged her to stop and claimed that he ‘was out shopping with his wife and has done nothing wrong.’
However, his requests for mercy further irritated the woman, who shouted: ‘Is it boobs you want?’ She then took her shirt off, exposed her breasts and seconds later straddled the man. She repeatedly slapped him and ends with rubbing her bare breasts on his face.
The entire episode was captured by a crowd of onlookers, with some supported her actions, while others were outraged and said how she can do this in front of children in the city centre. Some even said that she is disrespecting woman with her actions.
However, soon the reality emerged and it came out that the incident wasn’t real. The incident was staged by a theatre crew in order to highlight the unwelcome attention that can often turn into sexually explicit and degrading comments.
Watch the video here:
Fausto Ribeiro, director of the Confluências group, creators of the piece said: ‘We wanted to expose and address something that happens every day to our sisters and female friends. This was meant to challenge people’s perceptions and empower women with the shock tactic of retaliation. We wanted to force men to think more responsibly about their actions and the consequences.’
The video comes amid the escalating Hollywood sex abuse scandal. More than 50 women, many of them are the biggest names in Hollywood, have accused film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, harassment, abuse and rape, which allegedly took place over four decades.