Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! My name is Isabella Salgado. I'm from New York but I've lived in Quito, Ecuador since I was 4. I love animals, food, learning languages, and standing up for what's right!
When did you start your account?
I started @catcallsofquito on June 19th 2021.
Why were you inspired to start an account?
I've followed @catcallsofnyc for a very long time and have always been inspired by the chalking movement. The day before I started my account a friend of mine got catcalled for the first time and was very afraid; after she told me this, I remembered @catcallsofnyc's initiative and said to my friend: "why don't we go out and write your experience in our city?". After we chalked it, I was so inspired that I decided to open the account and try to reach more people who have been victims of catcalling.
Why do you think "chalking back" is a good method to raise awareness?
I think this method is a very creative and peaceful way of standing up for ourselves and showing
the world we will not stay silent about street harassment. Seeing the faces of the people walking by the chalking is something really unique, because you can see the ones who get embarrassed or annoyed and the ones who get surprised and happy about it.
Why do you think ending street harassment is important?
Street harassment is rooted in sexism, which is still one of our society's biggest problems. The fact that most feminine looking people can't walk on the streets without first checking if the clothes we're wearing will get us harassed should be extremely worrying, but somehow this issue doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon. We should be able to wear whatever we want outside and not be completely humiliated and torn apart by disgusting comments. This is basic human decency, but most don't seem to realize that.
What's your favorite thing about your city?
The food!! I might be just an extreme foodie but Quito has amazing unique dishes that you will never find anywhere else in the world. The pristiños, guaguas de pan, fritadas, and so much more make the living here so much more enjoyable :)
How can your city better address street harassment?
Well it could start by addressing it as an actual issue. No one here really seems to recognize this as a problem, and sees harassment as something normal that just happens to most of us and we should just deal with it. I think that just a little more exposure with public campaigns (like chalkback) could help with making the catcalling a tiny bit less likely to happen.
What do you hope is the outcome of your account? I hope that victims of street harassment can walk by my chalkings and realize that they are not alone in this, and that catcalling is not normal at all and should be stopped. I also hope to raise awareness about this subject and that the people who walk by what I chalk spend at least a few minutes thinking about what they just saw.
What's the most difficult street harassment situation you've experienced?
The first post on my account is my personal experience. I was 12 when I first got catcalled and it was also my first time walking alone in the streets. I was wearing shorts and a tank top because it was a very hot day, and back then I didn't know I had to think about what I was wearing outside because I might get harassed. A dude was walking by me and he said to my ear "que rica que estás", which translates to "you are so delicious". In spanish, "rica" is a very grotesque way of saying you have a "f*ckable" body. I was so confused and scared of what just had happened so I just ran back to my house.
What does being a part of this campaign mean to you?
I feel truly honored to be part of this organization that's filled with so many righteous and courageous people, and I'm so glad I get to do my part by spreading awareness about such an important subject such as street harassment :)