Summer of Ending Catcalls
By Jason Papallo, NCCJ E-Communications & Marketing Specialist
Sick of catcalling? Share a time when you’ve been harassed by unwanted body attention using #CatcalledStories on Twitter or by commenting on our Facebook post. We’ll be sharing your stories throughout the summer.
Catcall Definition (Oxford English Dictionary)
NOUN- A loud whistle or a comment of a sexual nature made by a man to a passing woman.
VERB- Make a whistle, shout, or comment of a sexual nature to a woman passing by: ‘they were fired for catcalling at women’.
Why It’s Harmful
Catcalling is just one of the many social injustices that women face on a regular basis. Many men, and even some women, still don’t see this as an issue. Yet daily, women are made to feel unsafe due to unwanted verbal aggression. This mostly comes from complete strangers.
A women’s personal freedom to feel comfortable in open spaces should never be jeopardized. Unfortunately, the behavior of catcalling has been consistent in modern history, and often overlooked as innocent in nature. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as it can lead to violent crimes if unreciprocated.
What You Can Do
Help us put an end to catcalling through awareness! If you’ve been subject or witness to catcalling, we want to hear from you. Share your stories by using #CatcalledStories and/or mentioning @NCCJtweets on Twitter, or by commenting on our ‘Summer of Ending Catcalls' Facebook and Instagram posts. Never forget, your voice matters. Your experiences matter.
We’ll be sharing your stories on our website and across social media! Look below for stories already submitted by readers.
“Been getting harassed for as long as I can remember. Since I was at least 12. Most recent one that scared the living hell out of me was a young man telling me he was going to rape me and kill my family. Don't know if he knew that I understood Spanish or not, but either way it doesn't matter.” - Andrea Vega
“I left QuikTrip with my hands full of food, and as I got in my car a guy called "Hey nice legs." and then wouldn’t look at me. That man was old enough to go to be my father, I would just like to mention.” - Kira Foster
“I haven't heard any phrases, but people like to scream and holler at me when I'm walking down the sidewalk, and I do not know these people, and it's always been men.” - Christine Rozwadowski
“I was working at a screen printing place when I was 18. This older married woman, about 30, would constantly try to flirt with me. She was pretty, but being married, [it] just wasn't my thing. It was also an uncomfortable work environment when she dog called (would that be the right term for a guy?) me. But then she started getting aggressive...in the dark room she through her arms under my shirt, grabbed my crotch. Had to practically fight my way out of that room.” - Ashly Miles Radcliffe
“Last summer I was walking home from my aunt’s house (she's three doors down) and these three guys started calling me over to them. [They’re] always outside getting drunk and being loud, and usually we ignore them and they ignore us. But this time they started calling out to me and trying to come towards me. They were really drunk, but they didn't go very far; not past their own lawn, but it was really dark and scary.” - Jasmine Bowers
“For me, it was last year. I was coming home from work, and since I don't drive and my house was close to work, I walked. A group of like three guys from across the street started catcalling me while I was in the uniform and followed me, still across the street. They followed me all the way home, catcalling me, and it made me feel very uncomfortable and unsafe, because all three were bigger than me, and older. I had nothing to defend myself [with] in case they decided to cross the street and do worse than just catcall. But I've also been catcalled about every Monday afternoon by this one kid across the street when I used to have to wait for someone in my family to get home and open the door for me. He would see me in the front yard and start catcalling me. Those times, all I wanted to do was deck him in the face because he was scrawny.” - Angel Keller
“I was at the mall the other day walking around with my girlfriend and son. We were passing a mobile phone shop and there was a group of four girls passing the shop coming towards us. The biggest one of the group yells at the male cashier ‘Hey beef cake, are you single?’. The man ignored them. And continued to do his job.” - Krosis Yhareck Dovah
“I've heard lots of stories about catcalling, but never experienced it firsthand until very recently. I was walking home from class here in Boston one evening with my girlfriend, and after she started to pick a fight, I didn't want to walk with her. So, I started to walk faster to create some distance between us. When I was about 20 feet ahead of her, a truck driver pulled up beside her, rolled down his window, and yelled out ‘Hey Red, need a ride?’ (she has red hair). She told him to go away, but he persisted, rolling the truck at her walking speed and continuing to harass her. I didn't notice this at first, but when I did I stopped walking away from her so she could catch up. Only when the driver noticed that she wasn't alone did he drive away. When I asked her if she was alright, she told me that it happened all the time and that she's numb to the harassment now. I asked her why I had never seen it happen to her before and she said that it doesn't happen when she's with a man. When she was alone she was up for grabs in his eyes, but once I was there he saw her as my property and backed off. [It] really got me thinking about the ways in which I demonstrate and communicate dominance over the women around me even when I'm not trying to, just because of my masculine presentation.” - Eric Betancourt
“I was recruiting in a high school and had two girls following me around talking about taking me into the nearest bathroom, and if they could get away with having some fun. Followed me for like 10 minutes in between classes, being pretty brazen about it.” - Kevin Wittenburg
"I sat down in my airplane seat. The old man next to me commented immediately 'I didn't know they'd put me next to a hot young chick.' I had to sit next to him for the next 2 hours. I was one of the first people off when we landed." -Sarah
"Hi guys, I decided to share my story. It was a very scary experience. I was walking home from the store one day, and a guy in a vehicle pulled up to me. I thought he was a kid at my highschool, so when he waved hi I waved back, of course. He left, I continued walking. Then, he came back... He tried speaking to me but I was unable to hear through his accent. This is when I finally realized I mistaken their identity as a highschool student. I told him, 'I'm going home.' He replied with, 'If you get in here I'll give you 7$.' I was horrified. I told him, 'No!' he said. 'Sorry, I thought you were one of those people.' He then sped off quickly. I started running to my house with each individual key between each knuckle for safety and called my brother, telling him everything that happened. I haven't gone outside since. This happened last week. I don't feel safe anymore going to school to walk there or home, and this wasn't even the first time this had happened. My brother doesn't allow me to get a pepper spray, or mace or anything to protect myself with. He is also unable to take me places because of his work schedule. So this was my story." -Heather Lynn
About the National Conference for Community and Justice
Formed 1927, NCCJ is a nonprofit human relations organization that promotes inclusion and acceptance by providing education and advocacy while building communities that are respectful and just for all. Celebrating the diversity of races, religions, cultures, genders, abilities, and sexual orientations.
The opinions and information expressed through News Views posts are solely those of the individual authors and not representative of NCCJ’s overall stance on related issues unless specified. Any information presented as fact could entail inaccuracies or be incomplete. We encourage open discussion through our blog, and welcome respectful responses from everyone.
For more information on NCCJ’s variety of social justice educational programs, click here.