7 Tips for Dealing with Public Catcalls ...

Do you have any strategies for dealing with catcalls? It might be time to learn some. In the last month, a video of a woman walking around NYC for 10 hours went viral, leading to an outpouring of women sharing their own experiences. From the mild “Hey beautiful!” type catcalls to more vulgar messages and even men following them, street harassment is a big problem, and it seems to be getting bigger. Luckily, there are some ways of dealing with catcalls. How many of these do you do?

1. Stick to Public Places…

(Your reaction) Thank you!

No, it’s not fair, and you shouldn’t have to be dealing with catcalls at all. Statistically, though, you are much less likely to encounter street harassment if you are in a relatively public place. That doesn’t mean that you need to take an entourage out with you, but you might want to rethink walking down those dark alleyways – you’ll just feel a lot more relaxed out in the open.

2. Group up…

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One of the best things to be uncovered by the catcalling video was the prevalence of “walking groups.” These unofficial groups of people don’t know each other and usually don’t aim to meet up in advance. They simply walk popular routes together, keeping everyone safe and reducing the chances of anyone being upset by catcalls. These are a brilliant idea for everyone – they’ll keep you safe and it’s a great opportunity to meet new people.

3. Don’t Make Eye Contact…

(Your reaction) Thank you!

There have been plenty of response articles and comments to that video, and a recurrent theme is whether eye contact encourages street harassment. Well, that’s a stupid idea. Nobody encourages someone to shout vulgar abuse at them. That said, a lot of people have found that they get catcalled a lot less if they actively avoid eye contact with strangers, and that the reduction in catcalls makes them feel safer. If that works for you, keep your eyes ahead and resist looking at people’s faces. Just try not to look too shifty!

4. Grab Some Headphones…

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This is my preferred method of dealing with catcalls. With some headphones and some great tunes, you won’t know you’re being talked to and you can carry on with your day none the wiser. It’s a great way to make it past chuggers and petition-boards in the street, and resist leaflets, too!

5. Act with Confidence…

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Bizarrely, men don’t catcall confident women. Yep, you read that right – if you’re sashaying along knowing that you look fine, you’re much less likely to attract shouts. Self defense experts recommend avoiding subtle submission cues, such as folding your arms or looking at your feet, and behaving like you are totally aware of your surroundings. Basically, know where you are and who is around you.

6. Trust Your Instincts…

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If your instinct says something is wrong, trust it. Not all bad guys come with a SWAG bag or a dodgy costume. If you spot someone up ahead who gives you that bad feeling, keep your wits about you and move if you can. That could mean changing your seat on the bus, walking a different route or just being very aware of who you are.

7. Don’t Shout Back…

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Yes, it’s counterproductive. Most people dealing with catcalls are angry and frustrated, and would love nothing more than to give the guy a taste of his own medicine and shout something back. Fighting fire with fire just leads to more fire, though – so douse it with water instead. If you get catcalled, give your best “Aw, how pathetic” face, and move on.

Of course, everyone is dealing with catcalls in different ways. While some people prefer to avoid them completely, others want to face them head on. However you approach them, though, it’s important that you feel confident and safe. And if you find that any particular place becomes a haven for catcallers, report it. How do you deal with catcalls?

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