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If you were harassed on the street, would you film the perpetrator?

An Indian woman who was groped during an IndiGo flight refused to take the harassment. Instead she gave the man a public tongue lashing, and whipped out her phone to record his response. The video was later uploaded to YouTube and viewed by millions online. Could South African women do the same here at home?

Thomson Reuters Foundation reports that “the trend to name-and-shame sex offenders [in India] comes after the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in Delhi in 2012. The incident sparked public protests and led to a national debate about the security of women – encouraging victims once embarrassed to come forward to use smartphones to expose perpetrators.”

The name-and-shame campaign has empowered victims of harassment in India to speak out about their experiences. Could this be a viable option for South African women, who frequently suffer harassment on our streets?

Given high crime rates in cities and urban areas, taking out a phone to film a harasser could potentially put a woman in more danger. One also has to consider how supportive the people around them might be. The woman on the IndiGo flight was in a relatively safe space – she was in a public space with lots of officials nearby.

Confronting a harasser and threatening to name and shame them could be one way to teach them a lesson, but it is not a solution that would work in every case.

Read more more about how Indian woman are confronting their harassers on Thomson Reuters.

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