Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Eve (she/her)! I’m a high school student, activist and writer. My activism has a focus in women’s rights and empowerment, and I love talking to and educating people about social justice issues. I’m a full-time intersectional feminist and spend most of my free time reading or baking.
When did you start your account?
I started catcalls of SLC in August of 2019. I deleted my first post on Instagram because I got self-conscious about my penmanship, but I believe it was August 25th. I’ve run the account for nearly two years!
Why were you inspired to start an account?
I had been following catcalls of NYC for a while, and was researching Chalk Back for my activism project for the year--I like focusing on annual activism projects to keep me inspired and engaged. I was familiar with catcalls of NYC and planning to start a chapter of my own, the then-only active chapter in my state of Utah, when I got catcalled for the very first time. I was 13 years old, my dad was with me and he didn’t say anything to them or to me. I was furious, and decided to channel that emotion into grassroots organizing.
Why do you think “chalking back” is a good method to raise awareness?
Chalking stories of harassment on the public street in bright chalk, forces people to think about street harassment and its impacts. It’s shocking, it takes people aback, maybe makes them reevaluate their own experiences. People can--and do, which is the whole point--ignore when someone tells them they were harassed, saying they’re being dramatic or they were asking for it. But seeing something so culturally and literally bold in plain view, that’s harder to ignore.
Why do you think ending street harassment is important?
I should be able to feel comfortable and safe in my own cities, in my own streets, and on my way to my own school or work. So should every other woman. This is as much of my place as it is a man’s, but the current cultural norms don’t reflect that.
What’s your favorite thing about your city?
Salt Lake is a relatively small city but still has many of the cultural opportunities of a bigger city. And recently, because SLC voted blue while the majority of Utah cities voted red, last election.
How can your city better address street harassment?
It needs to be discussed more. Utah is an extremely conservative place to begin with, so I was (pleasantly) surprised that over the summer, we had big protests. We need to bring gender-based street harassment into the activist dialogues, because it has lasting impacts on both individual and collective levels that have been ignored for much too long.
What do you hope is the outcome of your account?
I want to make girls and women in my city feel acknowledged, appreciated, heard and seen. If I even make one girl or woman feel like she has a voice--because she does--then I’m happy with my work.
What’s the most difficult street harassment situation you’ve experienced? (if you feel comfortable sharing)
My first catcall, when I was 13 years old. It was the first story I chalked. A guy with his friends called, “Yo! Gimme your number, I like redheads!” This was the hardest for me because it was my first time recognizing harassment--I didn’t know what I should do, I was a little disgusted that he fetishized my hair. I wasn’t sure how to handle how objectified and sexualized I felt, and was.
What does being a part of this campaign mean to you?
I love that I’m a part of a worldwide community making visible and lasting impact on their communities. I see both an international and local influence that we collectively have, and it inspires me: to continue taking action, to empower girls and women around me, and to recognize all the good that is being done in a world that--especially as an activist and as a person with marginalized identities--is so easy to be passed off as bad.