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Meet Laura

Tell us a little bit about yourself. My name is Laura, i'm 18 and the creator of @catcallsoflinz. I moved to Linz almost 2 years ago and work at my local municipal authorities. I love to make music, write and read.

When did you start your account? I started my account in late April 2019 but thought about creating it 2 months prior and the first time i chalked was on the 17th of may.

Why were you inspired to start an account? I had followed catcallsofnyc for quite some time and always admired the Chalk Back movement and how it inspires people around the whole world to speak up and i honestly just wanted to be a part of something great like this. I also love the freedom that comes with it. I wanted to be politically active but never could bring myself to join a political party and with this account I feel like I found my own little activism niche.

Why do you think ending online harassment is important? Online harassment has an impact just as much as real life, offline harassment. I think the most important reason to end it is people getting comfortable with insensitivity, which comes from the opportunity to be completely anonymous online.

How can the online community better address harassment? That's a difficult question but I think in order for us to speak up about harassment and get the respect we deserve in the first place, the people behind networks like Instagram and Facebook themselves need to be on our side. Starting with not censoring women's nipples when men can post theirs without problems.

What do you hope is the outcome of your account? I hope to reach as many people as possible and raise awareness about this issue. Ideally there'll come a time when catcalling won't be a thing anymore but until then my goal is to empower as many people as I can. I really hope my account will continue growing and inspire people to speak up about their experiences and create a safe place for them to share these experiences.

What’s the most difficult street harassment situation you’ve experienced? To be honest I can't really remember which was the worst experience but i certainly can tell you about the most ironic. Once i got catcalled while chalking. I was on my knees on the ground and a group of guys on their bikes drove by me and yelled at me what a beautiful sight it was to see me on my knees. I felt really violated but once I concentrated on the chalking again i felt better.

What does being a part of this campaign mean to you? It really means a lot to me being part of a movement like this. Chalking against street harassment is such a peaceful, artistic way to protest something that is often overlooked and I'm so happy someone came up with the idea and made it so that we can all join the fight and support each other while doing so.

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