An art student in New York City has gone viral for calling out a man for sexually harassing another woman on the subway.
Caitlin Wilkinson recorded the moment and shared the video on TikTok, capturing herself angrily chastising the man for ‘sexually harassing someone’ and ‘yelling at a random woman about’ his penis.
Two versions of the video have been viewed nearly four million times — and Caitlin says that more people need to be willing to speak up to stop this kind of behavior.
Caitlin told BuzzFeed that she was heading home from work on the subway when she saw another woman being harassed by a man saying ‘nasty things’ to her.
She made eye contact with the woman and realized she was in ‘trouble,’ as the man said he ‘didn’t really care that she had a boyfriend’ and was telling her ‘how he was going to f*** her and what it would feel like for her’.
The woman even got up and moved, but the man still didn’t leave her alone.
In addition to Caitlin, the harasser, and the harassed woman, there were three other men on the train — and no one was doing anything to stop what was happening.
But Caitlin couldn’t keep quiet, especially when the man began grabbing is crotch.
When she called him out — the beginning of the exchange was not recorded — the man started to argue back.
In a clip she posted on TikTok, the man can be heard telling Caitlin she is ‘all the way up’ in his business, and Caitlin replies: ‘What am I supposed to do when you’re yelling at a random woman about your d***… you’re sexually harassing someone and I’m not gonna let you do it when it’s not right.’
The man asks her if she’s a feminist, and she fires back: ‘If that’s what I have to be, bro, to tell you to stop bothering a human being.’
The two argued for 20 to 30 minutes, but fortunately, the situation didn’t escalate to anything physical.
‘I think [this event] very obviously points to the fact that this is a very real and often thing that happens to almost every woman out there,’ she told BuzzFeed.
‘In this society, we’ve been trained to mind our own business, and that catcalling and pushing boundaries is something women are just supposed to be used to. It doesn’t matter what you wear or what you’re doing, the majority of men still think they have the right to openly sexualize people however they please.
‘Almost every woman in the world can tell you the countless times they’ve had experiences like these, how invasive and attacking it feels, and the common theme is no witnesses ever speak up to stop the behavior,’ she went on.
‘In order to break the cycle, people have to be willing to call it out when they see it, and hopefully correct the behavior, or else these people will continue to think it’s acceptable.
‘I just want this video to do the same to those who need inspiration. When you see something, and your gut is telling you it’s wrong, assess the risks of speaking up, and if it’s safe for yourself and the people involved for you to do so, then do it. If it’s not safe, try and get the person alone, and check up on them.’