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Local High School Grad At Center Of Controversial Viral Video

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A woman who lived in Pittsburgh is now at the center of a new viral video that has people across the country talking about the way some men talk to women.

She spent hours walking the streets of New York City, with a camera secretly recording her every move, and the actions of the men around her.

It's known as "catcalling."

KDKA's Ralph Iannotti interviews the girl's father:

Some men consider it a compliment, but for Shoshana Roberts, who has ties to Pittsburgh, there is nothing friendly or complimentary about it.

In fact, she calls it street harassment. The 24-year-old actress teamed up with a friend who filmed her as she walked the streets of New York City.

In a 10-hour period, she received 108 unsolicited remarks. She was winked at, whistled for and even stared down by perfect strangers.

One man's polite greeting quickly turned uncomfortable, as he walked alongside her for more than five minutes.

The video, posted on YouTube, has gone viral, and has has sparked varied opinions.

One man commented on the video, "Guys usually have to do the work, that's just how it is."

Another asked, "Do you want your own daughter to walk down the streets with men asking her, 'How are you doing, beautiful?'"

But Roberts stands by the video.

"If we don't put up with harassment in school at home or work, then why should we put up with it on the street?" she says.

Roberts is currently pursuing an acting career in New York City. Roberts is a 2008 graduate of Pittsburgh CAPA.

KDKA's Kristine Sorensen has more from the girl's former teachers:

"Shoshanna always was into something new and important," said Mindy Rossi-Stabler, the theater department chair at Pittsburgh CAPA. "She didn't do things just to do them. She did them because she believed in them."

"She has a really good message and she had a point in doing this, and she shouldn't lose sight of that because a few people really don't understand what her focus was and what her goal was," added CAPA Principal Melissa Pearlman.

Roberts' parents moved to Pittsburgh from Ohio about a decade ago and she attended CAPA for three years before attending Kutztown University where she majored in drama.

As for the video itself, it was created for the non-profit "Hollaback!" organization, which is working to end street harassment.

Watch the full video here:

10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman by Rob Bliss on YouTube

Roberts' father, Larry, is a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette photographer. He told KDKA-TV News that he's become concerned about his daughter's safety because of "death and rape threats directed at her" due to the video.

He said NYC police are taking the threats seriously.

"Besides email threats, which are not always that serious, there have been telephone threats to the organization, threatening the organization and threatening her," said Roberts. "And so, police are going to open a file and start checking on things."

Roberts said his daughter has been overwhelmed by the millions of views the catcall video has received on social networking sites.

Roberts describes his daughter as an aspiring actress, adding that neither she nor him were surprised by the catcalls, because the video has "started a dialogue, and that's exactly what the group wanted."

"I think she was not surprised by the catcalls and everything. I think it's something she said she faces every time she's out, as do other people," said Roberts.

KDKA's Ralph Iannotti: "What does she and the organization want to see happen now?"

Roberts: "Exactly what's happening now, there's a dialogue. There are men who say these are compliments, and there are women who say, no it's not. People are talking."

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