Tell Us a Little Bit About Yourself
My name is Tanisha Tekriwal. I am from Mumbai, India. Studying at Northwestern now.
When did you start the account?
Why were you inspired to start an account?
Well, I had been following the catcallsofnyc on Instagram and wished desperately to contribute in any way that I could. It didn't make sense to start one/work for ones back home because I wouldn't be home for such long periods of time. So when Yola said she's doing this and would love people to get involved, I just had to do it.
Why do you think “chalking back” is a good method to raise awareness?
I think we often forget how frequent, indiscriminate, and disgusting catcalls are and putting them down where they happened as a memory for the city and not just an individual trauma to be dwelt on in solitude is important. It is a good way to remind people that these things happen in places we expect them to and places we don't and to everyone. It is a form of resistance in itself-- a form of demanding justice where many don't even see a case for it and consider it an acceptable part of daily life. Moreover, it is so essential that young people and parents read these. The former for solidarity purposes and the latter to know that this probably happens to their child and the fact that it has been chalked is not vulgarity but testimony.
Why do you think ending street harassment is important?
Because there is not one good reason for it to continue. Because this is such an early and unnecessary and universal trauma we have to endure. Because time's up.
What’s your favorite thing about your city?
The buildings-- you feel so small.
How can your city better address street harassment?
I think and know that Chicago probably has terrible cases of street harassment, but we haven't been receiving as many DMs. One way to address it would be sending stories to chalk so that we can raise awareness.
What do you hope is the outcome of your account?
That we get lesser stories-- not because people don't know about the account enough but because they are generally getting less catcalled.
What’s the most difficult street harassment situation you’ve experienced?
I want to pick out a singular, isolated experience but to be honest, back home, every time I step out, I feel harassed. I have noticed that in India people might not say as much to you, but they stare and make you uncomfortable. It is its own kind of silent catcalling.
What does being a part of this campaign mean to you?
I have not been able to participate in much activism at college, and this venture feels like activism, like action, like fighting. I appreciate that. It is almost selfish how much gratification it gives me to be a part of something bigger.