When did you start your account? And: Why were you inspired to start an account?
We started the account on May 30th, 2020, after our professor from university told us about the movement. After a bit of research we found out that in our hometown Darmstadt, there wasn't a catcallsof* initiative yet. Together we decided to start an account for Darmstadt.
Why do you think “chalking back” is a good method to raise awareness?
Chalking back is a really good method to raise awareness because it is simple. People walk on the street, completely taken in by their everyday life, and that’s the point when they see the Chalking. The issue of street harassment must find awareness in everyday life so that we can start separating one from another.
Why do you think ending street harassment is important?
Ending street harassment is important because this type of harassment means objectifying the victim. The sexism and disrespect behind it is not a compliment and people need to be educated to perceive it for what it is: harassment.
It is important that bystanders understand that they share the responsibility.
What`s your favorite thing about your city?
Lena really likes the green places like Herrngarten, Schlossgarten and Mathildenhöhe. There she likes to meet friends and enjoy the sun.
Saskia likes the fact that Darmstadt is built like a circle where everything lies so close together. For example, you only have to walk a few minutes to find a park for reading books in nature.
How can your city better address street harassment?
It would be great to see more public work about street harassment, for example small stickers or posters. It should be clear that talking about street harassment doesn’t harm the city's reputation. Instead, it would be a sign of education and enlightenment.
What do you hope is the outcome of your account?
We sincerely hope that it opens peoples mind. If people start thinking about this issue it could become harder to do street harassment because the environment is attentive and intolerant for street harassment.
We also truly hope to make clear that nobody is alone with such a bad experience and that an affected person has no fault.
What`s the most difficult street harassment situation you`ve experienced?
Lena: Once I had a drink with a man. Eventually he would start to touch my thighs and ended up with showing me his penis. I didn't want that so I left. On the way home I noticed that he put something in my glass. Saskia: I was out with my roommates. A man walked past us and grabbed me between the legs from the front and pressed hard.
What does being a part of this campaign mean to you?
Lena: If you want to solve a problem, it's important that everybody does something. Being a part of chalk back is a good way for me to make my contribution to a better society with less or no street harassment.
Saskia: The chalk back movement is a really smart thing. It is easy to implement and yet many people see it. It's good for me to do something that can make society a little better. There is a lot that needs to be improved. With chalk back I found my way to contribute to an improvement.