Man Assaulted for Defending Women from Street Harassment

[Content Note: Violence; harassment; misogyny; objectification. Please note video may begin playing automatically at link.]

Fucking hell:
A man who police say tried to defend a group of women from catcallers landed in the hospital after he was brutally assaulted in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square early Saturday morning.

Police say the 39-year-old man who was visiting from Texas was walking along 18th and Walnut Streets around 2:45 a.m. when he observed several men inside a Black Nissan pull up next to a group of women.

The men inside the Nissan began taunting and catcalling the women, according to investigators, prompting the victim to get involved.

"The male victim took offense to something that the guys were saying to the girls and said 'hey, watch what you're saying,'" said Philadelphia Police Captain George Fuchs.

Police say one of the men inside the Nissan then got out of the car and punched the victim once in the head. The man was knocked unconscious after he fell and struck his head on the concrete

The suspect then ran back into the Nissan which fled west on Walnut. The victim was taken to Hahnemann Hospital where he is currently in stable condition.

"This is a tragic, tragic story," Captain Fuchs said. "Here's a guy trying to stick up for these girls and he gets victimized."
I hope the man who was assaulted has access to the care he needs to recover, physically and emotionally. And I hope that the men who harmed him will be identified.

This story exposes as rank garbage a few of the most pervasive narratives around street harassment and gendered violence against women:

1. Telling women that we should just ignore street harassment, that it's no big deal, is bullshit. Street harassment is a very big deal, because it's underwritten by an entitlement so aggressive that some men will physically harm another man who tries to stop them, in even the most benign way.

2. Telling women that we should push back against street harassers is bullshit. This is what we're risking. Of course not every street harasser will react this way, but we don't know until it's too late.

3. Anti-rape initiatives that disproportionately or exclusively focus on intervention (vs. prevention) put people at risk. Not everyone can safely intervene. Not every intervention will be successful. Sure, it's valuable to have public conversations about not averting one's gaze at the sight of someone being harmed, because there are people who can and do safely and successfully intervene. But that cannot be considered a primary solution, for various reasons, including the threat of retaliation against the people who intervene. We have to focus on preventing harassment and gendered violence in the first place.

[H/T to Shaker MMC.]

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