Meet Kathryn

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello! My name is Kathryn Wiest, and I run the Cat Calls of the Bay Area Instagram account and am the “chalker” for that area. I’m 14 and a sophomore in Pleasanton, California. I’m a passionate activist, leader, and environmentalist.


When did you start your account?

I started the account this year (2019). I spent time before I made the account after searching for one in The Bay Area to no avail.


Why were you inspired to start an account?

I was inspired by the NYC Cat Call account. This year I have been trying to do be more for my community, and this is a good way to do that. I’ve experienced street harassment, and I know the majority of my friends have as well. I wanted to make my community a safer place with less unsolicited comments by raising awareness.


Why do you think “chalking back” is a good method to raise awareness?

“Chalking back” is a good way to raise awareness because it is objective in its approach. It lets people know the unacceptable comments people get and where it happens in our own communities, without being “aggressive.”


Why do you think ending street harassment is important?

Ending street harassment is crucial to make our environments safer and open to everyone. In this day and age, something as simple as walking down the street can be an anxiety-inducing event. People need to ponder what they wear so they won’t be verbally assaulted. Things such as that aren’t acceptable and shouldn’t be happening still.


What’s your favorite thing about your city?

My favorite thing about The Bay Area (specifically my hometown, Pleasanton) is the diverse community. There are so many interesting people with amazing experience and wisdom from every corner of the world.


How can your city better address street harassment?

My city can better address street harassment by acknowledging its presence more directly. It happens so frequently and it’s astounding the lack of awareness or publicity the cause of helping to stop street harassment gets.


What do you hope is the outcome of your account?

I hope that my account raises more awareness about the horrible thing that street harassment is. I also wish that with that awareness more public figures will start to take notice of the issue and work to make our community safer.


What’s the most difficult street harassment situation you’ve experienced?

He harassed my friend for being Egyptian and harassed me for trying to stand up for her. He yelled at us for a good 20 minutes before anyone stepped in, and by that point, I was in tears. Yelling at anyone is not appropriate, but yelling at a pair of teenage girls sitting alone somewhat late at night about the fundraising they are doing, is even more unacceptable. The saddest thing, in my opinion, was the fact that he was proud of how he was a veteran. That man was supposed to represent and defend America, all of it, not just the straight, white, rich, male portion. I’ve been catcalled, shoved, and worse, but that was the worse street harassment I’ve faced because of how entitled he felt. He believed that what he did was not just okay, but needed to “correct” us. As a nation, we need to be mature enough to cross political boundaries to establish that things like that are unacceptable.

e harassed my friend for being Egyptian and harassed me for trying to stand up for her. He yelled at us for a good 20 minutes before anyone stepped in, and by that point, I was in tears. Yelling at anyone is not appropriate, but yelling at a pair of teenage girls sitting alone somewhat late at night about the fundraising they are doing, is even more unacceptable. The saddest thing, in my opinion, was the fact that he was proud of how he was a veteran. That man was supposed to represent and defend America, all of it, not just the straight, white, rich, male portion. I’ve been catcalled, shoved, and worse, but that was the worse street harassment I’ve faced because of how entitled he felt. He believed that what he did was not just okay, but needed to “correct” us. As a nation, we need to be mature enough to cross political boundaries to establish that things like that are unacceptable.


What does being a part of this campaign mean to you?

Being part of this campaign is really honoring. When I decided to make the account, I thought for sure that it would already exist or that I wouldn’t be allowed to create it because I was too young. It made me empowered and proud to be able to run the account. I feel like I am doing “my part” to make the world a safer place for everyone.



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