Tell us a bit about yourselves!
We are a group of bright young women aged between 16 and 25. We were brought together by feminism, and the desire to start conversations about street harassment in our city of Perth, Australia, and around the world.
Why were you inspired to create an account?
Many of our members were initially strangers! We were all individually inspired by the chalk back movement, and the original catcallsofnyc page. One of our group members was moved to create the catcallsofperth account after she experienced particularly abusive harassment while shopping inside her local grocery store. As soon as account was created, other young women in Perth reached out to join the team. Everyone brought friends, and our Cat Calls Gang was created!
Why do you think chalking back is a good method to raise awareness?
Street harassment happens in public spaces but isn’t often spoken about publicly. Writing harassment in public spaces makes the issue visible and starts conversations. It’s also becomes hard to deny that the issue of street harassment is scary and serious when you see the abusive phrase written down on the streets where it occurs.
Why do you think ending street harassment is important?
If we accept street harassment, it means that we accept the systems of oppression that target women, BIPOC, LGBT people, non able bodied people, and other minorities. Street harassment is a clear message to these groups that they are not respected, not empowered, and not safe. Having conversations about street harassment is an important step in having conversations about privilege and the fight for equality.
How can your city better address street harassment?
Our city can better address street harassment by starting conversations and education about misogyny in our schools and by amplifying marginalised voices and stories in the media.
What do you hope is the outcome of your account?
Our aim is to bring attention to the significance of street harassment, to help people realise that it is a problem that directly relates to them. People often deny the existence of misogyny in our city, claiming that there is no need for feminism. By chalking these horrible words unto to the pavement where they were said, really solidifies that street harassment is an important and local issue. Our hope is that our account gives people a safe place to speak out about their street harassment experiences, and to feel supported and believed.
What does being a part of this campaign mean to you?
To us, being a part of this campaign is about amplifying the voices of those who have been silenced, working together to support marginalized people and highlight the frequency of street harassment in our city. It is amazing to work alongside people from all over the globe, all working together to create a safer and better world!