Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, my name’s Ashley, I’m a junior in Highschool at the moment. I love to read and occasionally make art.
When did you start your account?
I started my account earlier this year, probably sometime in February.
Why were you inspired to start an account?
I’d been following the chalkback movement, especially the catcallsofnyc account for a few years. I had to go into nyc on the weekends to attend a program there and I really saw how street harassment translated into my own experiences. At the same time, I realized that in my own community, those same experiences were present, but oftent dismissed, ignored, or just overall “too subtle” to point out. I wanted to change that.
Why do you think “chalking back” is a good method to raise awareness?
Chalking back directly exposes many people to experiences that they often ignore or don’t see. Many people use the “out of sight out of mind” way of thinking for topics like street harassment, but chalk on the road with a message is tangible evidence of peoples’ stories which prove that change is needed and has been for a long time.
Why do you think ending street harassment is important?
Ending street harassment is important because it’s important that all people feel safe in their everyday lives. What seems like a small and harmless “compliment” to others can ruin a person’s day and even life. To end street harassment is to have people educate themselves and expand their mindsets to include the thoughts and emotions of those around them.
What’s your favorite thing about your city?
I’d say the sky. I can’t say there’s always a lot to do, but the sky is constantly changing how my surroundings look and feel.
How can your city better address street harassment?
My city can better address street harassment by first acknowledging it. It is starting to increase its awareness on mental health in the youth, bullying and harassment, but doesn’t really equip people with the social tools to be assertive or recognize negative behavior in oneself.
What do you hope is the outcome of your account?
I hope that through my account, the people in my township will understand that street harassment occurs and gain a deeper understanding of how their actions can impact the wellbeing of others.
What’s the most difficult street harassment situation you’ve experienced?
I was in Atlantic City for New Years to watch fireworks and see balloons fall after the countdown. While my family and I were walking back to the parking lot area, a drunk man put his hand on my head, looked me in the eyes, and said “you’re beautiful.” In a different context this could have been a warm and positive experience, but in that moment, in a hot and stuffy crowd I didn’t feel completely safe.
What does being a part of this campaign mean to you?
Being a part of this campaign means that I’m able to help the people around me, who are willing, share their own experiences with harassment. In turn, people who follow the account or see some of its posts can learn to grow from them, by gaining a greater capacity for empathy.