No, it isn’t all men. It’s the ones who catcall you while you’re out running: red-faced and sweating. It’s the ones who do this in every city you’ve lived in. It stalls you. You’ve shouted back and been met with aggression, you’ve ignored it and been laughed and leered at. There is no right way to deal with being catcalled, because it shouldn’t be happening in the first place.
No, it isn’t all men. It’s the ones who chat you up across the bar and buy you a drink. Then turn angry and aggressive when we refuse to go home with them. They bought you a drink, they paid for you. You owe them now. You just want to work but they’ve said they’ll wait for you after your shift. Your manager doesn’t care, he says you’re being hysterical and that that man is a good customer, so no, he won’t be removed. Get a taxi home if you’re scared.
No, it isn’t all men. It’s the ones who after you’ve had a bad experience with his mate, he says ‘yeah, I’ve heard he can be a bit creepy after a few drinks.’ These are the men I’m more scared of, the ones who could prevent attempted assaults. Those are the men who need to stand up and be allies. Be activists for the safety of women. To confront their ‘friend’ and call out his behaviour. Because telling me after I got myself out of a bad situation that you knew and could have prevented it – is disgusting.
Words by Hana Kelly