Tell us a little bit about yourself. My name is Emily. I am a first-generation Cambodian American, and I am from Vero Beach, Florida. I am a senior at the University of Florida majoring in Microbiology and Cell Science with a minor in Health Disparities in Society. In the future, I plan on attending medical school to complete my lifelong dream of becoming a physician. I am passionate about public health, and I have special interests in neuroscience and infectious diseases. Some of my favorite activities are reading, listening to music and podcasts, making Spotify playlists, trying out new places to eat, drinking coffee, watching sunrises and sunsets, going to concerts, and traveling.
When did you start or join your account? I joined in December 2020. Why were you inspired to start an account? I was a director for the Gender and Sexuality in Medicine Committee in UF Pre-med AMSA. The mission of the GSM Committee is to raise awareness for issues in women's health and LGBTQ+ health. My co-director, Zoya, discovered the @catcallsofnyc Instagram account and thought it would be a great idea if our committee could get involved in something similar in Gainesville. Zoya found the @catcallsofgnvfl account and got in contact with them. We started chalking with them and enjoyed it so much that we are planning to stay involved in the future and include more of our committee members. Why do you think “chalking back” is a good method to raise awareness? "Chalking back" on the spots where street harassment happened can help people see that harassment can happen anywhere, even in the most random spots. By making the words visible on the street, we are showing everyone who walks by that harassment could happen right where they are standing, and it puts them in the victim's position. It is a way to visualize the harassment and to help people understand what the victim faced. Why do you think ending street harassment is important? I believe ending street harassment is important because everyone should be able to feel safe walking on the street. I don't think anyone deserves to feel violated when they are just walking to work or walking home. As a woman, I was taught ways to defend myself against harassment at a young age, but I don't think it's fair that women are just expected to deal with harassment because of how normalized it has become. What’s your favorite thing about your city? I like the cute coffee shops in Gainesville! My favorites are Curia on the Drag, Wyatt's Coffee, and Pascal's. How can your city better address street harassment? I think my city could better address street harassment by having a special hotline where victims can report instances of street harassment. I also believe that anti-street harassment campaigns and groups, such as @catcallsofgnvfl could also help bring awareness to street harassment. What do you hope is the outcome of your account? I hope to bring more awareness to street harassment and decrease instances of harassment in Gainesville to make it a safer place, especially for the young women who attend college here. What’s the most difficult street harassment situation you’ve experienced? I have been honked at several times while running outside my neighborhood, mostly by older men, and I felt uncomfortable with each instance. What does being a part of this campaign mean to you? Being a part of this campaign is a way for me to take direct action against street harassment and bring awareness to the struggles that women face every day.