Women's Issues

Maybe The Man Stabbed For Asking Girlfriend’s Catcaller To Stop Should’ve Smiled And Said ‘Hello’

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catcall stabbing victim and girlfriendAfter the recent viral video about catcalling, there were men making comments all over the internet telling women that we shouldn’t be bothered by it. They said that the guys in the video were just paying the actress compliments. They said that women need to stop being so stuck up, and instead be friendly to men who are just trying to say hello to them. Well, it is stories like this one about a catcaller who ended up stabbing someone that is the kind of thing that makes us a tick nervous.

Today’s Jezebel has a story about a San Francisco man named Ben Schwartz who was stabbed nine times after asking another man to stop harassing his girlfriend. Nine times. Schwartz, his girlfriend, and another friend of theirs were walking through the Tenderloin district at 4:45 am on November 15th. They passed the man twice, and both times he catcalled Schwartz’s girlfriend. The second time, Schwartz said, “Can you please just stop?”

That was it. He even said please, you guys.

Daniela Saavedra, who is a friend of the couple, told the SF Gate that the man then attacked Schwartz:

…[stabbing him] nine times in the back, face, neck and arms, puncturing a lung…[G]ashes on his arms required about 60 stitches each, while the cuts to his back just missed his spinal cord.

The man responsible has not been caught — he got into a nearby silver sedan and got away. Schwartz, an art student and waiter, has been released from the hospital but is still recovering and in pain. His friends have set up a Go Fund Me page to help him with his medical bills. In one day they have raised $23,000 of their $25,000 goal.

This kind of incident is exactly why many women are scared of street harassers. Some might say, “cool your jets. That was just one crazy guy.” Yes. And how are we supposed to know which ones are crazy and which ones are just run-of-the-mill assholes? All women have that fear that if they say something back, they are going to be attacked. Certainly, those of us who have talked back to catcallers in the past know how their moods can turn on a dime.

A couple of years ago I was catcalled walking into a Target. I stopped, turned around, and said something to the effect of, “How dare you. Leave me alone.” The guy became furious and started calling me a fat bitch (yes, the same guy who was telling me how effing hot I was a few seconds earlier.) And that is why we are afraid — because many of us have seen catcallers become volatile and unpredictable when confronted. And we’re supposed to encourage them by smiling and saying hi back?

All Schwartz did was ask the guy to stop, and he was almost killed for it. So quit the eye-rolling when women talk about how much we hate catcalling and how we feel targeted and afraid every day because of it.

(Photo: Twitter)