“You can COMPLIMENT ME by RESPECTING ME”

Catcalling is a term referring to when a man whistles, yells, hollers, or makes a comment to a woman in a sexual manner.

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Catcalling is not just a playful banter, it is already considered as harassment. Surely, most women have already experienced being “cat-called”. Catcalling is usually seen as a method of entertainment amongst men and is used in a variety of methods, for a variety of reasons.

Catcalling is very scary and creepy. It totally does not feel nice to know that someone, usually older than you, is checking you out. Some guys have even reached the point where they grope the victim when they pass by her. This is why it is already considered as harassment. We, women, don’t wake up, fix ourselves and get dressed for some random guy on the streets to catcall us or disrespect us.

Not only is catcalling scary and creepy, but it is also very unnecessary. Guys have nothing to gain from catcalling. Being able to comment about a woman’s body or touch a woman does not make guys more of a man, instead, they are becoming less of an individual.

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF CATCALLING

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Catcalling can cause shame, anxiety and worst, depression. Catcalling leads to constant self-monitoring, creating a state of self-consciousness that results in feelings of shame and anxiety.

Catcalling is positively correlated with body shame, and body shame is correlated with greater tendencies toward disordered eating habits.

Catcalling reduces states of productivity and flow. Because of the anxiety caused by catcalling, women tend to concentrate more on their physical appearance and their safety, making them lose their focus and flow that would, in turn, result to unproductiveness.

Catcalling usually happens in the streets, either when you’re alone or in a group.

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Here in the busy streets of Cagayan de Oro City, catcalling happens A LOT. For example, in Cogon Market, there have been incidents where a random guy just groped a woman’s ass, without anyone noticing. Some would walk very near the victim and would just suddenly whisper their disrespectful remarks and walk away like nothing happened. Sometimes, when a woman is waiting for a ride on the side of the street, drivers that are passing by would throw their comments. I think the reason why “catcallers” do it on the busy streets of the city is that no one would easily notice their actions.

IF BEING CATCALLED,

  • Assess your safety. Because every situation is different, there is no perfect response. If it’s nighttime and you’re walking in a desolate area, or your harasser is in a group, the best response might be not engaging at all.
  • Make eye contact. Strong body language, particularly eye contact, will surprise your harasser.
  • Use a firm voice. In an audible, unwavering tone, tell your harasser that his or her behavior is not okay. If you’re feeling bold and the situation allows it, you can turn the tables on your harasser by asking them to repeat what they said or loudly repeat it, comment on how they look or take their photo.
  • Avoid swearing. It’s hard to resist, but cursing can backfire.
  • Walk away. After you’ve made eye contact and said your negative statement, keep moving so that the harasser won’t think that it’s an opening to a conversation.
  • Fake a phone call. If your harasser is still following you, pretend to call a friend or threaten to call the police. If ever the situation escalates, make the call!

IF YOU’RE A BYSTANDER,

  • Intervene directly
  • Create a distraction
  • Find a delegate

ALWAYS REMEMBER, CATCALLING IS NEVER OKAY!

SOURCES:

http://www.womensrepublic.net/what-is-catcalling/

https://www.businessinsider.com/what-to-do-when-catcalled-2014-7

https://steinhardt.nyu.edu/appsych/opus/issues/2016/spring/rooney

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