Journalist and marathon runner Natalie DeBlasio doesn’t find catcalls flattering, and she’s not about to just “deal with it” either:
Scared to be on the streets, in the daylight, in a city I love. It makes me afraid I am going to be attacked. It makes me want to quit a sport I love so I never have to wonder if someone who shouts, “Come over here and let me get a look at that ass,” is harmless or is dangerous. Because I never know.
I’ve run through a crowd in Washington, D.C., and been grabbed by a stranger while his friends laughed and shouted about my shorts. Now I don’t run through crowds of men.
I’ve run by a construction site in New Jersey to have multiple men yell down at me from above — one tried to dump his cup of water on me. Now I avoid construction sites.
I’ve run in my college town, Burlington, Vt., and been followed by a man on a bike for three blocks, calling after me to “smile” and “run towards me instead.”
Provoked by an article she read in the New York Post, which not only excused classless men from this unseemly and ungentlemanly behavior but encouraged it, DiBlasio takes on the article’s similarly classless author:
Catcalling is horrifying, dangerous and demeaning. Catcalling does not mean you are beautiful, smart, strong or interesting. Catcalling means a stranger values you so little he doesn’t care if he makes you feel uncomfortable or threatened.
No matter what is said — a catcall is never a compliment.
Don’t whistle. Don’t honk and shout. If you have something nice to say, come up and say it in person, kindly.
I am tired of being afraid to walk alone. There are enough real predators out there. Don’t create more fear with your catcalls.
Raising boys by teaching them how to be gentlemen would be a good place to start. Failing to do so will lead to more stunning headlines like this one :
“1 in 5 U.S. Women Raped During Their Lifetimes, CDC Reports.”
The CDC study is sickening. It should alarm everyone:
In the United States, an estimated 19.3% of women and 1.7% of men have been raped during their lifetimes. An estimated 43.9% of women and 23.4% of men experienced other forms of sexual violence during their lifetimes, including being made to penetrate, sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact, and noncontact unwanted sexual experiences.
Results suggest that these forms of violence frequently are experienced at an early age because a majority of victims experienced their first victimization before age 25 years, with a substantial proportion experiencing victimization in childhood or adolescence.
The emphasis above is mine. We can share in the nausea induced by that last sentence, together.