What is it?
Also known as unwelcome sexual advances, it occurs when someone has an undesirable behavior through inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in different situations. The harasser can be male or female, although a male harasser is more common. The harasser can be a stranger, friend, family member, coworker, supervisor, co-worker, client, or customer. Sexual harassment can happen outside the workplace and occur anywhere work-related, such as hotels, conference centers, nightclubs, and taxis.
Other types of harassment/discrimination include:
- Sex Discrimination: is a behavior that arises when employers make decisions or treat an employee differently based on gender.
- Quid Pro Quo Harassment: arises when employers make decisions or treat an employee differently based on the employees’ acceptance or rejection of sexual behavior.
- Hostile Work Environment: is when a work environment is uncomfortable when there is an unwanted sexual behavior or an offensive comment that is hostile, intimidating, or both due to an employee’s sex, and that negatively impacts the employee’s capability to do their tasks.
Also known as street harassment, it can happen no matter where you are and at any time. It is an experience anyone can go through when a stranger harasses them using sexually explicit comments towards them. Catcalling is a type of abuse that is physical (grabbing the wrists, chasing, and stopping) and psychological because people, especially women, actually feel like they are weak. Some people experience body shame and change their appearance by dressing down and not trying to look attractive or purposefully looking disgruntled.
Catcalling can also be online, and harassers can be anonymous. Online catcalling is dangerous because anonymous harassers can target children. Therefore, the victim might run into the harasser in real life and not know. Catcalling has usually targeted women, but on rare occasions, men experience it too. There are different types of catcalling, but the two most common forms are whistling and yelling words that make the other person uncomfortable or unsafe. The comments made include cruel words, belittling jokes, mocking or criticizing a persons’ traits, and more.
Catcalling can damage the psyche of an individual because offensive/unwarranted comments can decrease self-esteem & worth and increase self-criticism. People may feel intimidated, inferior, and embarrassed. Some might not even want to walk on their own, making them lose their independence. This can evolve into not taking a genuine compliment because of negative thoughts that the complimenter is lying and is saying the opposite.
Causes for Catcalling
Some people have a behavior of catcalling due to several reasons that can include:
- Lack of awareness: growing up in areas where catcalling is regular and is socially acceptable or isn’t seen as illegal.
- Toxic masculinity: some men grew up in a culture that has them believing they’re above women, forces them not to be emotional, and always be powerful. Therefore, these men use catcalling knowingly to make them feel superior.
- Peer pressure: people sometimes change their attitudes, values, or behaviors to fit a particular group’s standards. When the group is a negative influence, it can lead an individual into a dangerous path.
- Misunderstanding freedom of speech: some people assume that they are “expressing themselves” by saying whatever they want, offensive or not.
- A person may choose to ignore & walk away/into a store or engage with the catcaller in these situations. However, engaging may not be safe as the catcaller may get aggressive and cause more problems. It is essential to know how to respond or not respond and stay safe.
Online catcalling has been increasingly occurring as technology advances. Anyone can be harassed through email, text messages, and direct messaging on social media pages. It is more appealing for harassers because they can hide behind their screens and be anonymous. Online catcallers may not be tracked down in real life. Still, their account can be exposed when a victim takes a screenshot of the message and exposes the harasser to inform their followers of the wrongdoing and reports the account to the social media site. People can prevent these harassers by either only accepting friend requests from people they know or blocking them after realizing the situation they’re in.