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Meet Antonia

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Antonia, I live in Cyprus, a small island in the Mediterranean sea. I'm a high school student, throughout my days having to tackle student tasks but also the hard tasks of society and the social pressure. I tend to be an open person, opening up and speaking my own personal beliefs and truth, which usually makes me perceived as both loud, but also strong.

When did you start your account?

I started my account shortly before the beginning of March, not posting until the end of the month. Since then, its been hard to balance my school life, social life and this new coming account, but I've most definitely promoted my own, @catcallsofnyc, and all the other cat calls accounts too!

Why were you inspired to start an account?

I first came across a catcall account, and I was intrigued by it! So within a couple weeks later when I realised that my country didn't have a catcall account yet, so I decided to take it upon myself to make that happen. From the moment I started my account i realised how lucky I am to be a member of this growing community to not only spread awareness but also to share my own personal experiences.

Why do you think “chalking back” is a good method to raise awareness?

By chalking back, it's as if we are giving a response, a reply, to something we had been keeping quite for so long. We're no longer hiding behind the words of the people which would tell us it's normal  even though it would make us feel sick to the stomach. We are breaking that barrier, and I believe that by doing that we're creating a society of people which have now been informed and are now aware of that 'sick to the stomach' feeling.

Why do you think ending street harassment is important?

It is one of the most complex yet the most brushed off forms of harassment and by ending it it's going to help stop that uncertainty the world outside our homes face. And in the end, more and more of these complex tasks,such as the use of racism and the use of racial slurs, homophobia, sexism are going to be handled with more care than they previously where, and in the end making these problems easier to handle. 

What’s your favorite thing about your city?

I think it's the all year round hot climate, I dont think I would be able to live in a city with a colder climate. I also like the close-knit society we live in, because the population of our country is just under a million. With this it provides a sense of unity and protection since we all always have a common friend or relative. 

How can your city better address street harassment?

Since my city, or country as a whole, doesn't address harassment itself, I believe by making it more aware that it exists, through schools and social media, such as this movement, it would then be able to spread out to the sub-topics, not only street harassment but many more that fall under this umbrella. In the end, it's better to start bit by bit.

What do you hope is the outcome of your account?

I hope that I gain a bit more of an audience from locals, and more people will be willing to volunteer to work with me and create they're own ways of awareness. Since I do live in a close knit society, that won't be hard to happen. After that I just wish to make harassment more aware, to make people think about what could be changed, and in the end make the society I grow up in alot more welcoming. 

What’s the most difficult street harassment situation you’ve experienced?

The one that struck me the most was the first time I got street harassed. It wasn't anything different, only a "hey beautiful" from a construction worker,  but it made me feel dirty vulnerable and that I looked way too grown up than I was. I was only 13 and I felt dirty the rest of the day. 

What does being a part of this campaign mean to you?

It means being part of a community that wants to make a change for the better, to change the way we view street harassment as something we should brush off to something we can give the victim a voice about. That means the world to me. 


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