Viral Video of Harassed Drunk Girl Was Totally Fake—Can We Stop Now?
You may have watched this viral video featuring a young actress roaming the streets of Los Angeles pretending to be drunk and getting aggressively hit on by male strangers eager to take advantage of her. Based on this, you may have concluded that the world is a sad, fundamentally unsafe place for women.
Of course it's true that some men do treat women unkindly, or are rude to them in public, or are even willing to harm them. In the same vein, Hollaback!'s viral street harassment video demonstrated that some men say creepy things to complete strangers on the streets of New York City.
But we should be more careful about interpreting every anecdotal story of someone being mean to someone else as cause for necessary and immediate action to prevent a widespread social ill. Sober statistical analysis is the best vehicle for attacking big problems, not shock and awe. For instance, even though these videos seem to portray an America that is very much a sexually hostile place for women everywhere, rape has actually decreased by more than 50 percent in recent years, according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network).
It's important not to exaggerate our problems—or become convinced that our problems require draconian solutions—because of false—or in this case, staged—observations.