Tell us a little bit about yourself
Hi! My name is Trinity (she/her/hers or they/them/theirs), and I’m 17. I was born and raised in Washington, DC proper. Not the burbs. Not a meezy.*
When did you start your account?
I started my account in January of 2019.
Why were you inspired to start your account?
I was inspired by Sophie who leads @catcallsofnyc and the women in my life. I’d been following @catcallsofnyc for a long time before Sophie posted an Instagram story about expanding the project to other cities. I saw the community and solidarity she cultivated, so of course I wanted to join in!! The women in my life (my friends and sisters) all share stories of being cat called frequently, and I wanted to change our general feeling of helplessness in those uncomfortable situations.
Why do you think “chalking back” is a good method to raise awareness?
Chalking back is a good method to raise awareness because it allows the person who was harassed to publicly take back the situation. The words and the location are theirs, because they chose to share them with the public. If the harasser is frequently in the area, they could see the chalk, find the account, and get educated about the impact of their words. Someone who has experienced street harassment could see the chalk, find the account, and find community. It also is not permanent. The impermanence of the chalk could be a nice metaphor, or it could just be ideal so as to avoid legal consequences (mostly :/).
Why do you think ending street harassment is important?
Ending street harassment is one step in the long, at times convoluted, journey of empowering marginalized folks. Women, People of Color, LGBTQ folks, and anyone else deserves to feel comfortable walking down the street and taking up the space they are entitled to. Living should not be a performative act and assholes shouldn’t feel comfortable commenting on a stranger’s existence.
What’s your favorite thing about your city?
I love the diversity of DC. There are old black people who have lived here since the mid-1900s. There are rich, white diplomats and politicians. There are the interns and college students. There are rowdy high school kids on the train. People who only speak Spanish. Tourists, immigrants, locals, drug dealers, and mothers. People who are none of these things and all of these things. Quiet streets and bustling hubs. DC is so big and so small at the same time and I wouldn’t trade this district for the world.
How can your city better address street harassment?
My city can better address street harassment by first addressing the cause -- the harasser. There is a relatively new Metro campaign that provides tips on how to stop harassment on trains as a bystander. I think that is extremely important! However, I think it is even more important to publicly address both the difference between a compliment and harassment and the issue with harassment (entitlement, making people uncomfortable, etc.). I think any signage about those things could help a lot.
What’s the most difficult street harassment situation you’ve experienced?
This event occurred in the summer of 2018. A man approached me, told me I was beautiful, and asked if I had a boyfriend. After politely smiling and telling him I was 16, he got angry. He was sharp with me and told me I was lying about my age, that a simple no would’ve been fine. He went on about “bitches nowadays” and I was so scared, waiting for my mom to pick me up from the metro station. I think the worst part was when I told my mom about the situation, and she told me to “just get used to it, because that’s how men are.”
What does being a part of this campaign mean to you?
Being a part of this campaign means so much to me! I get to speak about an issue I’m passionate about and the home I love. It also means so much to me because I get to check this interview off of my to-do list after avoiding Sophie’s texts for three months (still sorry about that).
*person from Maryland