Catcalling is as dangerous as any other form of sexual harassment, so why is there a lack of awareness and a societal acceptance ?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines catcalling as the act of shouting harassing and often sexually suggestive, threatening, or derisive comments at someone publicly.
While it is a good ,accurate definition, it fails to mention how catcalling is deeply misogynistic, far too common and how devastating the impact can be on those who have to experience it.
Catcalling can happen anytime and anywhere, with two out of three females being sexually harassed in public according to figures from Plan International UK.
A spokesperson from Plan International UK said : “The effects of catcalling can leave people feeling anxious, unsafe and objectified, leaving a lasting damage on a persons mental health.”
‘‘80% of parents in the UK worry their daughter will experience public sexual harassment during her lifetime.”
Yet for such a big and clearly wrong problem, society doesn’t seem to mind, as campaigners are still trying to make it an official crime.
Instead people will play down the severity of the harassment and say its just ‘lads being lads’ and that women should ‘take it as a compliment’.
However, it is this lack of understanding which makes the problem even worse.
18- year- old Durham University Law student Ruby has experienced this harassment first hand, mostly on nights out and in nightclubs.
She said: ‘‘It definitely makes you feel less safe because you don’t know how to respond.”
“Lads being lads just can’t be an excuse, even if something is said respectfully its still not a compliment, no one needs people shouting things at them in the street.”
More awareness and action is needed so people understand that it is serious issue that needs to be condemned and stopped.
Luckily it seems like that attitude is shared by the younger generations and despite the problems there is hope that it is getting better.
Ruby said: “The situation does seem to be improving because people are more aware and I’d feel confident if I told my friends that I felt uncomfortable with an event they’d back me up.”
However, the problem still remains and there is a lot of work that needs to make public places feel safe for everyone.
18- year -old Teesside University Nursing Studies student Meghan said: “I do feel intimidated especially when alone, you feel like a target has been put on your back and they won’t stop until they get a response they’re happy with.”
Despite experiencing that awful feeling however including instances when men in cars have called her over ‘for a proper look’, Meghan too has better hopes for the future.
She said: “I’ve never been catcalled by someone my own age they’ve always appeared to be years older or the majority of time full grown men.”
“So I have hope that younger people around my age appreciate that catcalling isn’t compliment and if anything makes women critique themselves.”
It is now up to society to turn those hopes into reality and make everyone feel safe wherever they are.
If you have been affected by anything in this article, you can find help here :
I have always been interested in sport whether it be the playing side or the analytical, reporting side. This is true for all sports and teams whether it be cricket or rugby or my biggest passion football and in particular local team Middlesbrough Football Club. As such I believe the Sports Journalism course at this university was and is the perfect choice for me as I look to develop my skills and learn more about the industry that has been such a big part of my life.