Origin Story

Why I cofounded SAFER: NYC, A perspective from the male leader of a feminist organization

If you told me when I was in high school that I would found a feminist organization, you would have gotten heckled by that younger me. This was of course, in part, due to my misunderstanding of the word "feminist." My friends, the music I listened to, my environment, my role models all told me that word was for butch lesbians who believed in female superiority. I had no idea that it meant equality. I also had no idea that I could also unknowingly have been guilty of street harassment, specifically catcalling.

Welcome to the SAFER: NYC Blog!

Like many women all over the world, I have been a victim of street harassment countless times over the course of my life—starting from the age of 13. Every cat call and wolf whistle, every prolonged stare and uncomfortable gaze is extremely frustrating, and makes me feel ashamed, embarrassed, and frankly pissed off. One year ago this month, after complaining to my boyfriend Joseph for the umpteenth time about harassment I had experienced that day, he said to me, “Well stop complaining and do something about it!” “Ok, but how? What can we do?” I replied. As a feminist and my partner, Joseph wanted to help stop this harassment too. Influenced by all the recent videos that had been flooding the Internet at that time, he suggested we make our own videos that specifically speak to men about street harassment because as a man, he often felt alienated by existing media. He made me realize that if we’re going to end street harassment, men have to be part of the solution too.