Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm Daisy, I'm a Gender Studies Masters graduate working in mental health. I'm from Bristol and run @catcallsofbristol and now I live in Brighton and run @catcallsofbrighton as well!
When did you start your account?
It's been over a year now that I've been doing the Bristol account. Catcalls of Brighton is new - only about a month old.
Why were you inspired to start your account?
I run @woman_a_day which a page devoted to sharing stories of women using an intersectional feminist lens, and I began sharing catcalling stories from followers. One day I saw Catcalls of NYC and was so impressed with the idea. Then I was harassed in the street in Bristol and realised this is a global problem. I believe that if we take our part of the world and try to deal with the misogyny and discrimination there, we can have a knock-on effect and inspire others to do the same elsewhere.
When I moved to Brighton I decided I would be able to carry on the Bristol account, and that perhaps Brighton had far less need for such a campaign. But in just a year I had many catcalls and finally, when I was asked for a massage right outside of my house I decided Brighton needed it too.
Why do you think "chalking back" is a good method to raise awareness?
Chalking back spoke to me as a brilliant method to raise awareness because previously I had just been sharing stories on my page; sharing to people who already understood this as a problem and people who already wanted to follow my page. Chalking back takes it to the streets and confronts EVERYONE with the realities of day-to-day life of so many of us. It forces passers-by to see what has occurred on that very spot.
I love that it is eye-catching and artistic and yet shocking. I also love that it gives victims a voice and makes us feel heard and empowered. It is teaching young people - young girls especially that this is not normal and they do not have to be quiet and accept this treatment.
Why do you think ending street harassment is important?
Ending street harassment is a vital part of combatting misogyny and ensuring freedom. If we cannot walk the streets feeling safe, then we are having our basic rights violated. We should all feel free to journey through the streets wherever, whenever and however we want without having to modify our behaviour to feel safer. We shouldn't have to keep our keys between out fingers and we deserve to know that the law and society in general recognises this.
Further; for people of colour, members of the LGBT+ community and people with disabilities face multiple discrimination, and therefore are more likely to experience street harassment and violence. Ending street harassment would mean facing up to the complexity of discrimination that permeates our society.
What's your favourite thing about your city?
I love the Banksy art in Bristol. When I chalk I feel like I'm a rebel like him!
I love living in Brighton as it feels like the most inclusive and progressive place I've been. I'm proud to be in the gay capital of the UK, which has also elected Green Party MPs.
How can your city better address street harassment?
Although Bristol has made a step forward in recognising gender discrimination as a hate crime - I feel that no awareness has been made of this. This an important step but how can this come into effect if nobody knows that they can report street harassment as a hate crime? Catcalling is so normalised that people still accept it and don't realise that police might take it seriously. I think that this needs publicised and taught by authorities; especially as so many victims are young girls in school uniform.
Brighton has such a reputation for being a great place to live for LGBT+ people and I think sometimes this masks the issue that street harassment is alive and well here. We need to address the fact that discrimination and harassment still happens in politically progressive places meaning public space is still not safe for all.
What do you hope is the outcome of your account?
I hope to continue the conversation about street harassment; ensuring that this topic can be discussed within families and relationships, in the home and everywhere, so that society in general can understand our experiences better, and get to grips with how street harassment is a part of a wider problem.
I hope that victims of harassment feel safe and confident coming forward; to report, to share and to say that they know this isn't right.
I hope that Bristol becomes much more conscious of how street harassment is an issue to for everyone - that we can all have a part in ending it. I hope to see the statistics change so that abuse on the street becomes a rarity and eventually ends.
In Brighton I hope for the same, and I am hoping to work with MPs to make political changes.
What's the most difficult street harassment situation you've experienced?
The most difficult street harassment situation was the one that motivated me to start the account. I was walking in Bristol at night with my tall male friend. A man called out to me saying that he was going to rape me. He came right up to my face and continued saying it. I was frozen and horrified, and it made him laugh. He carried on down the street shouting it to me. What upset me the most was that people feel completely safe saying these things; knowing they are going to be free from consequences the majority of the time. We are the ones left scared, and fearing how far they might go if we retaliate.