Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, my name is Rebeca, I live in Santa Barbara, CA and I’m studying Environmental Science. I love biology, thrift shopping, and going to the beach.
When did you start your account?
I started my account on August 17th, 2019. (yayyy!)
Why were you inspired to start an account?
There were many reasons why I was inspired to start the account. The key reason was because Santa Barbara didn’t have an outlet for people to inclusively share their experiences with harassment. There was no dialogue established to initiate activism against catcalling and there were no institutions which provided people the ability to share their stories publicly.
Why do you think “chalking back” is a good method to raise awareness?
I believe that “chalking back” is a good method to raise awareness because chalks are bright, bold, and hard to ignore. When we chalk, we take away a cat-caller’s power by calling out their behavior and by marking where they harassed someone. This simultaneously also provides a window for people to become involved with the project by searching the IG username and the hashtag provided at the bottom of each chalk.
Why do you think ending street harassment is important?
If street harassment were to end more people, especially more women, would feel safer walking alone at night. Traumatic interactions with inappropriate individuals would decrease fundamentally. There would be a newfound sense of safety throughout our streets.
what’s your favorite thing about your city?
I love the plant life in Santa Barbara. I feel content whenever I go outside because there are so many lemon trees, avocado trees, eucalyptus, and beautiful flowers everywhere. Also, it’s pretty awesome to be no more than 10 minutes away from the beach anywhere in town. Truly paradise.
How can your city better address street harassment?
I’ve noticed that Santa Barbara tends to reserve most conversations regarding local, societal troubles for certain times of the year. I would love to see the city become more open to discussing intersectional feminism and acknowledging the very apparent issue of street harassment in the city. The city could better address the issue of street harassment by truly recognizing it and calling out cat-callers with stricter enforcement of CA street harassment laws.
What do you hope is the outcome of your account?
I hope that people become more comfortable sharing their experiences with street harassment and that the account may provide an outlet for all to tell their stories. I also hope that the account can act as a catalyst to denormalize catcalling!
what’s the most difficult street harassment situation you’ve experienced? (if you feel comfortable sharing)
When I was 19, I was on the Freeway 101N driving home from school. I noticed this Toyota Tacoma looming near me on my right and thought it was one of my old high school teachers who drove the same car. I figured that the teacher had been trying to wave to me so I sped up to wave back. When I looked into the car I did not see my teacher, but a man with the most unsettling and malicious eyes I’d ever seen and he was beaming directly into my car. As soon as he saw me look at him, he drove forward and started following me from the front. Each time I changed a lane he would change a lane. I would take an exit, and he would still follow. I made the assumption that he had been following me since I had left the school. I finally lost him by doing an illegal maneuver after taking another exit. I drove past both police stations on my way home (just in case) and when I arrived I removed all the bumper stickers from my car and took a different route to and from school for a week.
What does being a part of this campaign mean to you?
Being a part of this campaign means that I’ve been helped establish an outlet which has not been provided in Santa Barbara before which is beyond incredible. I feel very lucky to be a member of a community that has already grown the account beyond what I imagined. This campaign is so crucial to our progression as a society and I’m very happy to be a part of it.