A man who was almost killed for defending his girlfriend against a cat caller hopes that his case will highlight the horrors of street harassment and help put a stop to it.
Ben Schwartz, 31, was stabbed nine times after confronting an aggressive catcaller who made persistent, obscene comments to his girlfriend, Miyoko Moody, as they walked home from a friends’ house at 4.45am.
As Schwartz had forgotten his wallet, the couple had to double back and ended up passing the cat caller three times. Each time they passed him, the man made inappropriate comments to Moody (“I’ll show you how a real man treats a woman”, etc.) and in the end, Schwartz decided to confront him.
Ben Schwartz and his girlfriend Miyoko Moody
“When we tried to get away from the situation and cross the street, we were followed and the harassment got even more intense,” Schwartz told SF Gate. “I was scared for me. I was scared for my girlfriend. I told her to stay on one side of the street, and I went to tell him to stop.”
The man attacked Schwartz with a knife, stabbing him a total of nine times in his face, back, neck and arms. He underwent surgery to close a punctured lung.
Moody set up a fundraising page in his honour and has raised more than $30,000 in four days.
She wrote: “The doctors say he is very lucky to be alive considering how close the cuts were to main arteries and one just missing his spinal cord.”
The couple say that the cat caller escaped in a silver Sedan car, and so far that no arrests have been made.
Despite this they remain positive and hope that the incident will spark action against street harassment.
“Girls walk down the street every day and have guys saying things to them, and if a girl denies that or shows some sort of aggression toward that, that can bring violence and that can bring unwarranted things,” Schwartz told SF Gate.
“In the future, I hope that when some guy hollers at some girl, his buddy will pass him and say, that’s not cool,” he says. “I just don’t want this to happen to anybody else.”