Like I’ve mentioned before, I live in Venezuela… and you have no idea how bad this problem is over here…
It’s IMPOSSIBLE to walk just ONE single block without getting a nasty comment from a guy. I’ve even been followed. And sometimes, if I don’t answer (because apparently you have to thank those guys for sexually harassing you!), I’ve been insulted. I would never walk on the streets here wearing a skirt or shorts, I’ve never done it, never will (although I've realized that what you're wearing doesn't make much of a difference in these cases).
The sad thing is, I’ve even gotten racist comments along with the nasty ones. I’m very pale and have light hair, this is not that common here, and there was a time when a guy on the street told me that I needed to go to the beach and get some color, because I was too white… Not racist, you think? Let’s put it the other way around: hey, go get your skin a bit lighter and get rid of your color, it’s too dark… Oh that one does sound racist, right? Add a nasty comment to that to make it even more special! :)
Most people in Venezuela go out in fear (this is one of the most dangerous countries in the world), so I bet most people are praying inside their heads when walking on the street sometimes. Well, a lot of women even forget about that, the first thing in their heads is praying that none of the guys saying all that actually does those things to them. I know I have thought like that pretty much every time, those are priorities, your body and safety are way more important than your money or cellphone.
I don’t even understand how there are women here who go jogging; I tried it once with a girlfriend (and in a pretty good neighborhood)… Oh never again, my friend! I now do yoga in the comfort of my own bedroom.
I’m not saying this isn’t a problem in other countries, oh it is!! That’s why I’m writing about it. I used to live in Germany, although I never got any comments there. I’ve been on vacation to other places too, even New York City, wearing little shorts and all; I did get some comments (mostly from construction workers for some reason). It was never as bad as it is here. BUT it does happen everywhere though, ALL the time. And it shouldn't.
And seriously, it’s like they’re making you feel like you’re just a piece of meat… like a little deer walking through a bunch of starving predators, waiting for the first one to jump at you and take a bite… It’s an awful feeling; NO-ONE has the right to make you feel like that, to make you feel so low, like you’re merchandise. I’m pretty sure most of the girls reading this know I’m not exaggerating; it’s scary and exasperating at the same time. Catcalls are NOT compliments, please remember that. And flirting and catcalling are not the same thing either, I've seen guys on the internet getting mad when women complain about street harassment, saying that now we're trying to take away a man's right to flirt with a woman he finds attractive... Flirting is one thing, street harassment is another. I don't get scared or feel insulted when a guy flirts with me on the street, it's very different from street harassment.
I was talking about this to a male friend of mine once and he said he had never realized this problem! That he started noticing how bad it was after I told him about it and I can’t tell you how sad it made me. Of course there are guys who don’t do this (catcalling), like my friend, but most of those aren’t even aware it’s happening.
I’ve noticed that, if I walk with my dad or some male friends, then I won’t get those comments… BUT I would get the awful stares; you know those, the ones you feel on you like they’re taking off your clothes. If I walk with my mom we would both get comments or she would even get called “mother-in-law”. Talk about respect and boundaries!
Most people seem to think that women and men nowadays are on the same page. Sadly, I don’t think that’s happened yet, because there are still problems like this, and it’s just one of them, one that’s not even that bad if you compare it to some others, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.
Sometimes I feel like asking these perverts if they have women they care about… a mother, sisters, daughters, a girlfriend/wife (which makes it even worse!) but maybe they don’t even care, they don’t realize how degrading and scary their behavior is to us women.
Again, I don’t know if some of you may think I’m exaggerating, I really don’t think I am, I consider this to be a huge issue. Society also plays a big role in this, I want to write about women in the media in the future, it’s not really that hard to find a commercial, TV show, etc. that portrays women as sex objects, it’s actually harder not finding at least one every single day.
Finally, I hope you take some time to watch this video if you haven’t already, it’s really amazing. I don’t know how many men would get the message, because you have no idea how many immature men I’ve heard saying that they would never worry about a woman sexually harassing them, that it would be awesome! I do hope the guys who watch this get the idea and understand the problem, because I think it does a good job at explaining it:
So what are your thoughts on catcalling / any form of street harassment?
Thank you very much for reading!