Who’s Responsible for Stopping Sexual Harassment?

By Sarah Grados

Women live in a world where there is a constant threat to their safety. It is all too common for women to be victims of sexual assault and violence. This is only normalized by those who perpetuate this cycle and do not speak up. Society tells women that they cannot stand up for themselves because they will have to face the repercussions of fighting back. For example, when a woman comes forward with rape, she is interrogated about what she was wearing and shamed for not being more careful. It is absurd how rapists often aren’t convicted while women are criminalized for being brave enough to act in self defense. We live in a world where girls and women are not protected and valued enough, and historically do not receive justice.

On October 27th, a video surfaced on my Facebook feed. Its title caught my attention: “A Stranger Stood Up To A Sexual Predator”. The video shows a young man, Moise Morancy, scolding a man, who remains unnamed, for touching a young female on the bus inappropriately. Morancy held a hand on the man’s chest as he shouted and pointed his finger at his face, saying: “Motherf*cker touch a girl without her permission. This is what I’m gonna do to you. Don’t you ever do that sh*t again, do you hear me? No, no – don’t touch her again!” The man is shown with a bloody nose. Morancy alleges that the man tried to attack him, so he punched him in the nose.

After arriving at the scene, the police assume that Morancy, who is African American, is the perpetrator of all the commotion. Morancy desperately tries to clarify what actually happened: “He was touching a little girl and I was defending her. Listen to me.” Morancy was eventually released following the arrival of a sergeant. This altercation speaks to a more subtle issue in the video: a lack of neutrality by the police due to race. This criminalization based on race contributes to the creation of an environment that makes it risky to be an ally and sheds light on the vast complexity of the issue.

Ultimately, this video represents a hopeful first step towards creating a shift in our society as bystanders choose to act as allies. This is the first video that I have come across on Facebook that speaks to the importance of men using their privilege to stand up for women. This is not a call for a male hero on a white horse to come to the rescue of every damsel in distress, but rather a call to everyone – every single man and woman on that bus – to speak up, stand up, and put a stop to violence and harassment for women. We are capable of creating a better world for women by standing up for one another, by supporting each other in speaking up, and by working together as a solid collective despite our differences. Let us truly be united for good.

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