I am not saying that every single man is like this, and likes to catcall women. My life is full of very wonderful, caring, lovely, protective men. However, unfortunately there seems to be a large proportion of people who are tarnishing their name with socially and morally unacceptable behaviour. I am also not saying that there aren’t women who are just as bad. This can work both ways, however this post is based on my personal experiences, feelings, and those experiences of others around me.
This is not going to be a glamourous post. Recently, something that has always bothered me has been brought into the centre of my attention, and I’ve had enough, so I’m going to voice my opinion over it. I have seen three posts on Facebook in the last two weeks from girls who have been treated grossly inappropriately by men.
Examples of Catcall Behaviour
The first was from a 19 year old girl who is currently doing a solo trip around the US. She was in Hawaii at the time, and missed a bus, so began to walk to the next stop to pass the time. En route, she passed two older men sitting on a bench. As she passed, they called out to her to get her attention. Being alone in an unfamiliar place can be terrifying, especially at that age, so she continued to walk without responding. This angered one of the men, who began to follow her, shouting as he did so. He started by repeatedly trying to get her attention, and this really scared her, so she told him to ‘f**k off’. Her response angered him, so he moved on to abusive language, calling her a ‘bitch’, and shouting about how all that he wanted to do was say hello. At this point she was walking at a very fast pace, and so was he. Do you know how I know all of these details? It’s because she filmed him over her shoulder on her mobile phone. She rang the police, who came along, but then dismissed her case as the man claimed to be walking to the shops in the same direction as her. The police refused to watch the video.
Secondly, was a post from a travel blogger who I follow. She was staying in a hotel, and the man who was staying in the room next door with his wife and children, attempted to climb through her bedroom window. She was relaxing in her underwear when this happened. She shouted at him to ‘get out’, and he simply stared at her for a long time, before backing out. She chose not to inform the hotel or change rooms, because that would allow him to win.
The final post I have seen was today, when a friend of mine posted screenshots of a conversation with a man on Facebook, who she knows. He was sexually explicit, and she chose to ignore his messaged. He relentlessly messaged her every day, until she messaged him back to firmly but politely tell him that he had offended her, and that this was not acceptable, so could he please stop trying to engage her in conversation. However, he continued to do so no matter how many times she clearly told him to stop. His excuse was that he had been drunk.
Why It Is Wrong To Catcall
All of these cases are fucking ridiculous. I don’t understand how men like this are being raised in a way that makes them think that it is acceptable to sexually harass a woman. Honestly, what were their parents doing? The most obvious comment that I can take from these examples, is that ‘no means no’. If a woman makes it perfectly clear that she wants nothing to do with you or your sleazy behaviour, back off. If you continue, you look pathetic and you look creepy. In addition to this, something that frustrates me even more, is that in every example of cases like this that I see, the woman feels the need to justify herself when she says ‘no’. Men expect women to justify themselves, even the authorities expect it, and this is just promoting this rape culture that we find ourselves in: ‘you have to give a good reason for your refusal, or you are to blame’. No. No, no, no. If a woman’s reaction is to ignore you or run from you, she is both already scared and vulnerable (so leave her alone), or you are doing something very wrong. If you genuinely just want to say hello to a woman, say hello. I have been in many situations in my life when men in the street have said hello to me. Sometimes I respond, and sometimes I don’t, and there is a perfectly good reason for these differences, and here it is: you can tell by a person’s tone of voice, if they are just being friendly or have an ulterior motive. If they say ‘hello’ very brightly, I often say hello back and give them a smile, and then they leave it. However, a man who says hello laced with a drawling tone, perhaps a certain look, or who blocks you from walking on (it’s happened), is one to be avoided. Also, it is probably worth noting that you should never address a woman that you don’t know with ‘sexy’, or by touching her, or anything equivalent to that. That is evidence that you are assessing her with a sexual motive.
Something else that angers with this situation, particularly the first, is the public’s tendency to turn a blind eye. If something happens that scares you, you want to feel that you can turn to somebody and feel safe. When I was 17, I used to get the public bus home from school. One day, on the final leg of my very long journey, a man in his mid 20s boarded with a friend, and sat behind me. I instinctively turned off my music, but kept my headphones in, as I immediately felt vulnerable and at risk, so I wanted to be able to hear what he was saying. After about five minutes, he began to try and get my attention from behind me, by calling me. I ignored him, as I could feign that I couldn’t hear him through my headphones. Eventually, he reached forward and grabbed my shoulder. Now, I don’t like being touched by people that I don’t know. Ever. This is something that should certainly go without saying. In what world is it genuinely acceptable to grab young girls? My reaction was to spin round, through him off me, and as I was already scared, I shouted at him to not touch me. This pissed him off, and he immediately got very defensive (which is a clear sign of guilt, by the way) and started shouting abuse at me, calling me a bitch, a f**king c**t, and so on. By this point I was crying, so I got up and walked down to the driver where I waited for the rest of my journey whilst he continued to shout at me. The bus was about half full, and I stood there appealing to every person on that bus to help me, including the driver. Nobody said anything; they all ignored me. I got off the bus at the next stop and walked to mine, where my mum was waiting in a panic, because they bus had passed her without stopping, and she immediately knew what had happened because she saw this guy through the window.
I was only 17 years old, and what you have to realise about me is that I look about 18 now, so at that time I looked like a 14 year old. Every person on that bus sat there and allowed mental and verbal abuse to happen in front of them, without batting an eyelid. I believe that a bus driver has a duty of care for the people on his bus, especially children. He had the power to kick that guy off, but he didn’t. My mum contacted the bus company and complained, and they apologized, but that was all. If you witness any situation where any of the parties involved seem distressed, intervene. Even if you don’t stop it, but just comfort the person who is upset, offer them the seat next to you so that they do not feel alone and in danger.
I don’t know the point at which being a man stopped being about gentlemanly ways, and began to be about showing that you are abusive. For the rest of the world, it seems incredibly weak. At what point did men stop being able to take rejection? Why can so many men not handle the fact that a girl does not want to talk to you? Grow up, and think about what your mother would say if she could see the way that you are acting.
The world can be a very scary place for a woman, and so many men are ruining it for us. Many of us can’t walk down a street after 8pm without feeling at risk of rape. If you think about it, how ridiculous is that? That we live in constant fear of being sexually abused? When did that become the norm? Rape and abuse are very realistic things, which happen so frequently – in the US, a woman is raped every 107 seconds – so why are you promoting the rape culture by purposefully stalking girls who ignore you, or following them around clubs? By making sexually explicit comments and movements in public around children, families, other men, to show how much of a ‘lad’ you are? This does not make you cool or attractive, in fact it is repulsive. Grow a pair; you are a feeble excuse for a human being.