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Meet Naomi

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Hi, I’m Naomi and I’m 18 years old. I’m studying music theatre and here I also bring my feminist thoughts with me. To work on performances or write spoken word. At a young age I realised that it was normal to be whistled at. I thought it meant that they like me. But it’s not... it’s asking for attention.. but this is not the way! Especially when you don’t know somebody. A compliment is a whole different thing than a catcall. Because sometimes it may sound nice to you when you read it , but maybe someone said it in a very disgusting way..

When did you start your account? 23th of February 2019

Why were you inspired to start an account? I got inspired by starting this account when I was working on SLUT the play.  We talked a lot about these subjects and then I found this whole movement. I looked up if there already was an account for Rotterdam. There wasn’t so I immediately started one!

Why do you think “chalking back” is a good method to raise awareness? I think it’s good, because then it’s not only the catcalls accounts raising awareness. I think with the chalking back method you can raise more awareness with each other. Then you will also feel less alone while walking on the streets when you see all of these catcalls chalked on the ground! I think it’s very powerful if you do it with more people!

Why do you think ending street harassment is important? It’s important, because then everyone can feel safe again! You can just walk on the streets without worrying what they are going to say to you today. Also at night it’s especially even more scary to walk alone on the streets.. if we end street harassment it will also (hopefully) have an effect on all forms of sexual harassment. And I think it begins by ending street harassment.

What’s your favorite thing about your city? My favourite thing about Rotterdam is that it’s lovely for everyone! You have beautiful bridges and a lot of nice secret places to discover!

How can your city better address street harassment? I think by watching out for each other. Because in my opinion Rotterdam is already doing a good job. They have this app where you can report your catcalls. You can fill in the name of the street, on what time it was and what they were saying to you. When the municipality see it happens more often at that place they will make sure there are more police watching that street or they place cameras.

What do you hope is the outcome of your account? That my account in the end isn’t necessary anymore. That I can stop with this account and watch the world without catcalling. When I look at such a world I’m smiling, because I think that would be wonderful!

What’s the most difficult street harassment situation you’ve experienced?  I was going out to dance in a club with some people from school. We were walking to that club when two boys came up to me. They were from South Africa so they didn’t knew the way and asked me if I knew a nice place to dance. We were with a whole group so I said they could walk with us. We arrived at the club and after a few hours I was there. I went outside with a friend, because we were very warm. After a while she went inside and I stayed outside for a little while. The boys who we met on our way to the club were standing outside and we got in to a conversation. At one point they asked if they could take a picture of me. I said no, but they kept on asking the same question over and over again. I kept on saying no and I walked towards the door to go inside until they stopped me. They held me by my arms and started to take pictures. I tried to pull away from his arms. Until at a certain point it worked and then I quickly went inside the club. 

What does being a part of this campaign mean to you? It means that we’re not alone in this. We are together and we’re way more stronger than we think we are! We can achieve so many wonderful things, important things! Spread awareness with each other! Make the world a safer place to live in!

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