‘I have felt like a piece of meat’: How FHRITP is sexual harassment not just a prank
WATCH ABOVE: One-on-one with the Toronto reporter who confronted ‘FHRITP’ hecklers
TORONTO – During live broadcasts television reporters are trained to stay focused and carry on, no matter what happens.
For more than a year, television reporters across North America, mainly women, have been increasingly confronted with the verbal assault “F–k her right in the p—y” (FHRITP) while on the job. They have been carrying on but the vile words have impacted them.
As reporter Shauna Hunt, from CityNews in Toronto told Global News, “I have felt like a piece of meat.”
Hunt has been subjected to FHRITP routinely, some days as many as 10 times.
At Sunday’s Toronto FC home opener she finally decided she had enough and started asking a group of young men who admitted they had planned on shouting it why they would yell the offensive slur into her microphone, as she worked.
WATCH: Alicia Versteegh from Hollaback Toronto explains how FHRITP is harassment not just a vile prank
“You would humiliate me on live television?” Hunt asked. The answer seemed surprising. “Not you,” said one man.
“This has nothing to do with you,” he later added.
It may have a lot to do with herd misogyny according to Alicia Versteegh, co-director of Hollaback Toronto, an organization that works to end street harassment.
“This is more than just a drunk guy saying ‘hey mom’ on camera. This is somebody saying really vulgar, offensive things that pertain to women and you can’t dismiss the words and message that is behind them.”
When the herd or pack is together, it seems the fact they are verbally assaulting a woman doing her job is not a concern when positive reinforcement is the payoff.
“More often than not, it’s a group of men that tend to engage in this kind of behaviour. I am not sure if it’s just because they like the response they get from their peers and they’re laughing and all [their] buddies are high-fiving [them] so it must be okay,” Versteegh told Global News. “I have a feeling if this guy was alone, he would be less inclined to [be vulgar] as he would have no one to show off to.”
Hunt agrees, telling Global News, “these two guys were just an example of an attitude that exists on the streets of Toronto and, you know, across North America.”
“We’re talking about harassment in the workplace,” Hunt said.
CBC reporter, Shannon Martin, admitted when FHRITP was hurled at her by students, repeatedly, outside a Toronto high school, she eventually reported the boys to school administrators who worked with the students and their parents to educate them on how offensive and upsetting the slur was.
Global News reporter Cindy Pom was live during the late news in August 2014 when a man rode past on a bicycle and yelled out the vulgar saying.
“How could he take pleasure in saying something like that,” Pom said of the incident. “I thought it was an extremely rude thing to say to any human being.”
Versteegh hopes something positive comes from the public reaction, that a dialogue and real conversation starts.
“It’s something that we need to talk about and discuss how we treat each other as human beings with respect in public places.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: The article above has been edited to clarify the group of men admitted they were planning on yelling FHRITP but had not before the reporter confronted them.