Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Charlotte, I'm 20 years old, and I was born in Adelaide, South Australia.
When did you start your account?
I started this account in February, but my first chalk, coincidentally, was on International Women's Day, 2019.
Why were you inspired to start an account?
About a year ago, I was raped by my ex. The police didn't take me seriously and even blamed me for it. I felt so intimidated and silenced, so I joined Cat Calls Worldwide because I thought it would be therapeutic to constructively use all the anger and injustice that I feel.
Why do you think "chalking back" is a good method to raise awareness?
One of the things I quite like about "chalking back" is that it has really brought to light that street harassment isn't just being called 'baby' or 'sexy' by strange men on the streets, and while that is bad for its own reasons, there's a much more overtly violent side to street harassment like being followed, paedophilic comments, receiving rape threats or being physically harassed. I think it also has the added benefit of being cathartic way for women to come forward without sacrificing safety.
Why do you think ending street harassment is important?
It's important to end street harassment so that women can feel safe to leave their homes. I also feel that if we were to allow street harassment to continue we'd further the normalise the objectification and mistreatment of women, emboldening men to take their harassment a step further.
What's your favourite thing about your city?
I think Adelaide is a very underrated city. It's calm, and not so crowded like Melbourne or Sydney, but we also have a pretty decent nightlife, as well as architecture and street art.
How can your city better address street harassment?
Since it's been found that disparity between empathy in males and females only increases with age, I believe that one of the most effective forms of combat against street harassment is early-intervention. Devising a uniform program to be implemented in schools that teaches respect and acceptance of the sexes, anti-bullying programs that acknowledge and tackle the sexism- as well as racism, homophobia, classism- prominent in bullying amongst peers. As well as more of a focus on women in literature, history, etc. As an incentive, schools should receive government funding for the implementation of such programs.
What do you hope is the outcome of your account?
I hope to bring awareness to the people of Adelaide, and help people to realise that street harassment isn't normal nor should it be tolerated.
What's the most difficult street harassment situation you've experienced?
On my 20th birthday, a guy followed me into a bar, came up and kissed me while I stood, frozen. I pushed him away and told him I'm not interested in men. Then he grabbed my hand, put it over his crotch and preceded to tell me he's a woman while his boner was in my hand. I felt really embarrassed and also scared that he wasn't going to leave me alone.
What does being a part of this campaign mean to you?
To me, this campaign means so much. It's given me a healthy outlet for my feelings around sex-based inequality. It's also given me a sense of community- ever since I was raped I've felt really alone and I have a tendency to isolate myself when I'm struggling to cope. This campaign has given me a reason to get outside and interact with people who comment on what I'm doing.