Before reading this post, please watch this video I found on UpWorthy:
(A full article on this video can be found here )
The Issue, But No Solution
While this video reveals the stressful and downright terrifying nature of catcalling, a.k.a. verbal harassment, 10 Hours does not provide a solution or advice for women in these situations. The actress remains silent. No reaction. Let’s the men continue to do or say whatever. While this allows the video to achieve a disturbing tone, it left me feeling frustrated and powerless. What am I supposed to do in this situation?
After a few minutes of fuming, I looked up ways to respond to ‘cat-callers,’ and complied a general list below:
Know Your Situation
While in every instance I wanted to scream ‘f*** off’ to the harassers, some situations are too dangerous, and a victim should not engage a cat-caller. When being harassed, a woman (or man, who are also victims) should assess her situation and decide for herself whether a situation is safe. For example, if a woman is walking at night and being harassed by a group of males, she should avoid engagement and possibly locate a police officer. Better safe than sorry.
Confront the Per(vert)petrator
If the situation is safe, a woman should confront the harasser. Most perpetrators believe women won’t retaliate and they won’t be held accountable for their actions. Hollaback, a non-profit against street harassment and creator of the video, states that street harassment is “about power” and “teaches [women] to be silent.” Make eye contact, and inform the cat-callers that their words are unsolicited/unwanted/unattractive in your own (colorful*) words.
*While sometimes effective, swearing can cause a situation to escalate to a dangerous level. Use your sailor’s mouth carefully.
Move on & Share Your Story
After confronting a harasser, walk away. It is best for the man (occasionally woman) to know that retaliation is not an invitation for conversation. If you feel like it, as I did after one of my own confrontations with cat-callers, enjoy the empowerment of knowing you stood up for your right to walk freely. Also, share your story with others. Telling others about your experiences with street-harassment brings more attention to this issue and help bring about change.
If you have ever been/witnessed harassment, please share your experience below. Or if you have further comments on the video or comic, please comment as well.
Featured image retrieved here