Catcalling: what it is and how to react in the face of this harassment

Unfortunately, violence against women can manifest itself in several ways. They range from the physical one, which marks many girls in toxic relationships with aggressive partners, to the psychological or verbal ones that affect many women even unknowingly. Any harassment received, both physical and verbal, marks the victim deeply, as if he felt guilty of an outrageous gesture received by others. Today we will talk about a sadly increasingly widespread phenomenon: catcalling.

What is catcalling?

The merger of the term cat And calling it can be misunderstood if you try to understand the "literal" meaning of the word. Well, with catcalling s "indicates all that series of appreciations made to a woman on the street by men but which, in reality, turn out to be anything but real compliments. Whistles, phrases like 'Hello Beautiful' or "Are you going out with me tonight?", are neither a way to try to get to know the girl in question nor to show a real interest. This is verbal harassment.

According to a study conducted by Cornell University in 2015, almost 80% of girls interviewed in Italy said they had suffered at least one episode of catcalling under the age of 17. Such an experience marks women who suffer it in ways different, but all of which must be taken into consideration. In fact, some victims have explicitly said that they pay much more attention to the type of clothing they choose when they go around, while others tend to avoid one street rather than another, depending on how busy it is.

See also

High or low forehead: what is the meaning?

© iStock

Cat calling is a crime (but not everywhere)

For many countries it is street harassment it has become a crime. For example, in 2018, in France, President Emmanuel Macron passed a bill that fines those who pay unsolicited compliments to women they meet on the street.According to the provision, catcalling would be a harassment because it has nothing to do with a consensual attempt at flirting.

The French premier had made headlines for his condemnation of this phenomenon, but it did not surprise those who have supported him for some time. In fact, Macron has always been a strong supporter of the movement #metoo and could not fail to take into consideration the data of a 2016 research which revealed that 83% of French women, of different age groups, had been victims of inappropriate and sometimes obscene appreciations in the street, which in some case of intimidation by men seeking their attention.

In Italy, unfortunately, this kind of street harassment it is not yet considered a crime. What makes us think and is even more disconcerting is how in all States there are people ready to "defend" those who are seen as guilty, believing that too restrictive measures harm the freedom of courtship and approach. Too bad, however. , that such individuals forget a fundamental principle for any human relationship: consent.

© iStock

How does it feel when you have a cat calling episode?

After a woman sees herself as a victim of catcalling, whether it be whistles, a "hello beautiful" or one too many glances, she experiences mixed feelings. First of all, there is the anger of suffering such harassment, but, at the same time, of not being able to react because you are afraid of what the person in front of you might do next. To this are added impotence and discomfort.

Many women who were verbally harassed on the street said they felt dirty and useless. Their person has been degraded to just a body towards which someone has experienced mere sexual desire. In those moments of street harassment it was as if they no longer had a name, a personality and specific interests, but they saw themselves as an object that strangers looked at without their being able to say anything.

Finally, the feeling that prevails over the others is, of course, the sense of guilt. Above all, many girls, between 16 and 30 years old, but also several older women have felt guilty of an event that was totally beyond their control. Faced with a whistle to attract attention or a "Hi beautiful" one often questions one's clothing thinking that, if one had worn another look, then the cat calling episode would not have happened. It is important to raise awareness on this point: those who have to be ashamed of what happened are not those who suffer it, but who does.

© iStock Catcalling

How to react to verbal harassment on the street

Obviously, it is not possible to outline all the possible scenarios in which a catcalling episode can occur. However, we give you some advice if you happen to experience or have suffered verbal harassment on the street.

First of all, before reacting, always evaluate the context well: if you are in a street with other people and you feel "safe" despite the unwanted appreciation you have just received, then you can try to reply. The important thing, however, is to remain calm and not take unnecessary risks: if there are no or few people around, forget it: with men like that it is not worth it.

Then, it is good to be confident: do not change direction, do not back down just because one or more strangers have acted in that way. Be indifferent and proceed on your path. If you don't go along with those vulgar compliments, the harasser will soon lose interest.

Finally, even though we know it can be difficult, don't let an experience like this make you change your habits. It cannot and must not limit your freedom in any way: do not feel guilty and do not keep it just for you. Talk about it and compare it with your friends or with those you trust the most. You will see that you will no longer feel alone and you will regain the self-confidence that those sensual flattery had undermined.

Tags:  Horoscope News - Gossip Old-Home