This Sunday, I was walking home from the library at about 11 o’clock at night. I was just minding my own business, walking along with my ear buds in and my backpack weighing heavily on my back. I had just spent a long day at the library and all I wanted to do was go home. In order to return home to Colonial Hall, I needed to cross the intersection of Water Street and Carlisle Street. As I approached the crosswalk, the light turned, enabling my safe passage across the street. However before I did this, I noticed the car that stopped at the red light halted pretty rapidly. I continued on my way, thinking nothing of it.
But then, while I was walking across the street I heard external noises over the substantial volume of my ear buds. I had a feeling where the voice was coming from, but I tried to ignore it. The noise continued so I glanced up briefly to take a quick peek. The car waiting at the stop light was facing me, and one of the passengers was shouting to me. He wasn’t just shouting. He also had half of his body hanging out of the rear passenger window. I paused my music because I had to know what he was saying. And there it was. Hideous and grotesque catcalling.
I’ve been catcalled before and it is not enjoyable or flattering. Sometimes if it happens, I just let it roll off my shoulders because I shouldn’t let some stupid words made by some rude guy bother me. However, this time felt different to me. Rather than let this roll off my shoulders, a wave of panic crossed my mind as I reached the other side of the street. It was dark and I was all alone. There were a few guys in the car and I don’t think I would ever be able to defend myself properly against them. Luckily I was very close to my room, although even that made me more nervous. I feared that they would see where I live, but thankfully the light turned green and they sped away before they could see where I lived.
This whole experience made me nervous and uncomfortable. I felt violated as a person. Because that catcalling even took place, I stopped being a human in their eyes. I was objectified and disrespected. All I was doing was walking across the street. I didn’t deserve this, and neither do any women that are catcalled.
Catcalling may seem very minor compared to other forms of harassment and more intense situations such as assault, but it is still a very real problem. My roommate said that just the other day she was walking early in the morning when a trucker at the same intersection was making crude comments to her. It happens all of the time, and all we can do is just bear it. We walk with our head high and our eyes forward, pretending that we don’t hear the slurs that are being called at us.
I’m sure most women like myself find catcalling disgusting and extremely rude. So any guys who read have done it in the past, take note: It is not okay. And any guys who witness a friend do this, it would be awesome for you to discourage that kind of behavior. I really wish that we didn’t live in a world where catcalling was common and tolerated. But we do, and unfortunately we all have to put up with it until society decides that respect is actually what we deserve.