Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a feminist by heart and an architect by profession.
When did you start your account?
The account was started in March 2019
Why were you inspired to start an account?
Delhi did not seem to have platform whatsoever where victims of street harassment could at least share their traumas, anger or shame related to experience. I would see young girls blaming themselves for being victims of catcalling – such platform would not only give women of the city a platform to share but also tell them that they are not alone in this, and that this isn’t their fault.
Why do you think “chalking back” is a good method to raise awareness?
It’s undoubtedly an amazing idea to convey the message that “enough is enough”, that catcalling is not as uncommon as many men would like to believe in fact I see lot of people not even realizing that catcalling is NOT part of the culture but is a street harassment, that it’s a tool of oppression and is highly intimidating. Such chalking on road all over the city firstly provide victims with a platform to share their stories and secondly tell the harassers that we are not keeping quite anymore that such disgusting remarks are NOT compliment neither do we take it as one. It not only spreads awareness among adults but also among teens, which is a good way of educating them about sexual street harassment.
Why do you think ending street harassment is important?
It is important because it is completely unfair for victims to having go through such uncalled for remarks, oppressive acts and intimidation just because one has a vagina. No matter weather women have achieved doctorate in a subject or is a scientist at Nasa they are brought down insulted on roads and continuously reminded that they are nothing but a piece of meat that their achievements mean nothing and all that matters is that hole in their body. It is not an acceptable situation and I would never want our future girls to be told the same or get the same message.
What’s your favorite thing about your city? Parks and beautiful boulevards!!
How can your city better address street harassment? Many people of the city have unfortunately accepted catcalling as part of our culture; they do not even realize anymore that it is something that needs to be changed or something that can be changed. We can ignite the light of hope of change by first and foremost educating people on what is sexual street harassment and why is it UNACCEPTABLE; by encouraging victims to not keep quiet, by providing more such platforms where victims can fearlessly share their stories, also by educating young teens that they are not alone and how can such events be reported. Also by pushing for making catcalling illegal so that harassers are heavily fined.
What do you hope is the outcome of your account?
I hope that this account would provide the victims a platform to be able to share their stories, would tell them that they are not alone and encourage them to not keep quiet. It will also send out the message that it is not something that has to be tolerated rather it is something that needs to be fought against.
What’s the most difficult street harassment situation you’ve experienced? When I was 8 years old; I was riding my bike out in the street when this worker from a nearby construction site started winking at me then had his tongue out pretending to lick me, I was 8 I did not understand much so I stopped my bike and looked at him in confusion – he said let me turn you into a woman little girl (I did not understand it then). Luckily my mum saw him from the balcony and called the cops.
What does being a part of this campaign mean to you?
I feel empowered being able to share my stories and other women’s. I am glad to be a part of it as because of this account many women are able to share their stories and have helped spread awareness. I majorly see young teens being targeted but at the same time because of this account teens get a medium to share their experiences, they realize that it’s not their fault and that they are not alone. I wish I had something such as this when I was young as I remember blaming myself each time it happened to me. Thanks for the cause and the much needed and empowering idea of @catcallsofNYC.