A San Francisco man is recovering from being stabbed nine times after he asked a man to stop catcalling his girlfriend. According to his GoFundMe page, the victim, Ben Schwartz, was stabbed in the neck, back, face and arms and suffered a punctured lung. His attacker has not been found.
ABC7News reports that the attack happened early on Saturday morning when Schwartz and his girlfriend were walking home. A man approached them and began catcalling Schwartz’s girlfriend. According to Schwartz’s friend, he asked the man to “please just stop” and then the man attacked him with the knife. Schwartz said that one of the stabs missed his spinal cord by only a few inches, which could have paralyzed him.
Schwartz’s friends created a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the medical costs stemming from the attack. As of press time, it has raised over $20,000. On the page, his girlfriend has indicated that any leftover money will be donated to San Francisco’s victim compensation plan, encouraging people to continue donating.
Schwartz is not the only person to be attacked for standing up against street harassment. In August, a man in Philadelphia was attacked and knocked unconscious after he told a group of men to stop catcalling women.
And the subjects of catcalling are often met with similar violence. In October, two women were savagely attacked, one of them fatally, by strangers who were harassing them. In August, a British woman, Mary Brandon, was punched in the face when she asked a man to stop groping her in a bar. Brandon publicly shared a photo of her face after the attack to raise awareness of how women are treated.
Nonprofit groups like Hollaback have tried to raise awareness of street harassment as a gender justice issue. This became a more prominent topic of national conversation after the viral video “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman.” Plus, following shootings in Santa Barbara this May that involved a man pledging to kill all the “sluts” who rejected him, activists started the Tumblr “When Women Refuse” to document the risks of turning down men’s romantic advances. It still is updated regularly.
Around 65 percent of women have reported experiencing street harassment, and over 41 percent have experienced physically aggressive harassment. A quarter of men also report getting harassed on the street.