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Meet Seneca

What inspired you to start the account?

I started the account this past semester because I kept hearing so many stories about catcalling on and around campus.

Why do you think chalking back is a good method of raising awareness?

When you chalk back it raises awareness because it’s not as easy to ignore. I genuinely think if more people were aware of some of the nasty things that get said, it would make a difference.

Why do you think ending street harassment is important?

Being a woman and living on a college campus can be scary, and the statistics around assault are overwhelming. Street harassment is only one of many ways we’re made to feel unsafe where we live and learn, but it’s also one of the most obvious and public ways. Showing intolerance to catcalling as a community not only helps victims feel safer, it sends a clear message to perpetrators that even slightly threatening behavior is not okay.

What's your favorite thing about your city?

I love Burlington because it is beautiful and full of genuinely kind people. There are so many inclusive communities, and I feel that my identity as a queer woman is supported by those communities.

How can your city better address street harassment?

I think a lot of people don’t know HOW to respond when they witness street harassment. In the moment it can be confusing and scary, so even just being aware that it happens on campus and in the community can hopefully lead to people thinking about how they could respond so as not to be a bystander.

What do you hope is the outcome of your account?

I hope that spreading awareness of the idea that street harassment is in fact frightening and uncomfortable for those who experience it might lead to people in our community to think twice about what they may view as an innocent comment, but what could seem threatening to a vulnerable person.

What's the most difficult street harassment situation you've experienced?

I remember the second night in my dorm freshman year, I was putting up posters in my room and someone catcalled me through the open window. I was on the ground floor and they could see right in. I was so uncomfortable realizing that I wasn’t even safe in my room, with the added pressure of the fact that this was one of my very first experiences with catcalling on UVM campus.

What does being a part of this campaign mean to you?

Being part of this campaign means finally doing something instead of being a bystander to my own fear. I hope that people who submit their stories also feel like they are pushing back against a culture that makes people into objects.


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