Of all the videos that go viral on TikTok, this one belongs to the most disturbing and empowering ones.
Caitlin, an art student from New York City, was taking the subway home from work late at night when another passenger — a man — started sexually harassing another woman.
Caitlin stared at the man, trying to stop him but it wasn’t enough so she eventually took out her phone and recorded herself calling him out.
Later, she uploaded the video on TikTok, where it has received 1.9 million views in just a few days.
Watch the viral TikTok below
@lilbluzipooOkay 3rd times the charm♬ original sound – lilbluzipoo
Caitlin told BuzzFeed that she noticed the other woman on the subway looking distressed and realized she was being harassed once the two of them made eye contact. The man was telling the woman “he didn’t really care that she had a boyfriend” and “explicitly talking about how he was going to fu*k her and what it would feel like for her.”
Initially, Caitlin shared the TikTok as part of a “trend where this specific song/sound is supposed to magically fit the last video in your camera roll.”
“Most of the time, it’s cute videos like people dancing with their friends, but once I scrolled past all the TikToks in my library, my last saved video was the one yelling at the man. I loaded it up with the song and it matched perfectly, which seemed almost like a sign to me. So, I decided I would post it. I really didn’t think anyone would even care that much about it.”
Caitlin said she’s used to people telling her she’s too much or that she should just ignore people like that.
“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,” Caitlin said. “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. 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.”
Caitlin said that the only reason she was able to stand up to that man was because she’s been inspired in the past by other women doing the same thing. “Watching a woman find their voice and having the power to be who they want to be, unapologetically, is what inspires me daily,” she said, hoping that her TikTok will also empower someone.
“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.”
After her TikTok went viral, Caitlin also addressed some of the most popular comments
@lilbluzipooReply to @saddi.e♬ original sound – lilbluzipoo
Image credits: c.wilkinson