Tell us a little bit about yourself
My Name is Laura, I am 26 years old. I studied history of art and theology in my hometown Munich and I work as a trainee in a museum in Kassel now.
When did you start your account?
I started at August, 17, 2019.
Why were you inspired to start an account?
I read about the catcalls movement in a journal. I immediately liked the idea of giving all the “victims” a voice or rather make sexual harassment visible in two ways: Chalking in the city and also on social media.
Also, I thought, I am a very self-confident person and I feel safe on the streets – a feeling, everybody should have. I want to give something back by empowering others.
Why do you think “chalking back” is a good method to raise awareness?
Since the chalks are visible in the city and most of the catcalls are shocking and rude, everybody can see them and – without the context of the catcall-scenario – you (hopefully) start to think about what happened at this place. In a second step, when you start researching about the Instagram account, you will see the whole dimension of the problem in our society and also the idea behind the chalks. The fact that it is anonymous makes it easier for “victims” to tell their stories. They can see, that they are not alone, which closes the circle: the more reports we get, the more awareness we can raise.
Why do you think ending street harassment is important?
We all want to live in a free, democratic society, where everybody is equal. Street harassment is a very perfidious way to demonstrate power towards others. You do not let the other a real chance to answer or even react to catcalls. Mainly girls were taught to ignore street harassment, which supports the catcallers and the way of thinking about others: to treat them like objects. That is the base of inequality and the structure of a patriarchal system.
What’s your favourite thing about your city?
Kassel is a very green city with a lot of parks and forests nearby, where you can hike and explore some ruins of medieval castles. Moreover there are many museums and cultural events, so you have the perfect mix of nature and culture here.
What do you hope is the outcome of your account?
I hope people who read the chalks or follow on Instagram will start thinking, reading and discussing about street harassment. Maybe they reflect their own experiences with that issue. For others, who was getting in touch with catcalls, I hope that they can see that they are not alone, that it is not their fault and there is somebody, who speaks up.
What does being a part of this campaign mean to you?
First of all it is good to know – also for me – that I am not alone. Secondly, I can get some advice from other accounts and I already did. And thirdly all these brave “chalkers” empower me as well.