Catcalling on campus

Campus Pictures-Spring
Morgan Brownell /THE REVIEW
A national survey of 2000 people nationwide conducted by the nonprofit Stop Street Harassment found that 77% of women and 43% of men have experienced some form of verbal street harassment.

BY Senior Reporter

As Charlotte Kronick, a 22-year-old psychology and Spanish double major, sat outside Dunkin’ Donuts on Main Street last Monday, she expected little more than to drink her coffee and watch the people walk by.

Instead, Kronick said, she was approached by a disheveled man who complimented her legs. She said she “squeaked” out a meager “thank you” before turning the other way, hoping the man would move on. Kronick said he instead loomed over her and breathed down on her with his hand outstretched. Hoping to get this stranger to leave her alone, she said she attempted to shake his hand. He reportedly kissed her hand and left his lips there longer than expected.

Kronick said she later ran into this man again at the campus bookstore.

“I kept looking at him from across the room to make sure that he wasn’t staring at me or other girls,” Kronick said. “It was very alarming to see him again.”

Kronick is not alone. A national survey of 2000 people nationwide conducted by the nonprofit Stop Street Harassment found that 77% of women and 43% of men have experienced some form of verbal street harassment.

Other women told The Review they had been honked and barked at, and had various profanities yelled at them. Many said they were often dressed modestly or even bundled up for winter when they received these unwanted advances. These catcalls usually came from moving cars or apartment windows, they said, which concealed the identity of the catcaller.

Valerie Pascale, a junior human services major at the university, said she believes that catcalling is indicative of a larger problem of disrespect in our society.

“Catcalling is hugely problematic because men believe these disrespectful things are okay to say to women and it comes from a power imbalance that they use to make women feel gross and small,” Pascale said. “You never know what someone who catcalls you is going to do next because if they think catcalling you is okay, their next move might be to grab you.”

Phoebe Walls, a senior at the university, experienced catcalling while walking home from an event held by her sorority. While walking to her Ray Street dorm, Walls said she was verbally harassed by men in a car on Cleveland Avenue.

“It made me feel small and nervous for the rest of the night and stuck in my mind for weeks,” Walls said. “For the next few days I was very careful about picking my daily outfits to make sure that I wouldn’t attract any attention.”

Walls believes her experience did not end that night on Cleveland Ave, it has stayed with her through the years.

“Thinking back now as a senior and confident woman I wouldn’t have let it get to me but back then I still didn’t feel like I had a place on campus,” Walls said. “Lifelong friendships hadn’t been formed yet and I was unsure of my emotions and opinions so that is a memory I have of my time here at [the university] that will forever be burned into my mind. It was unknowingly a lasting experience of my time here.”

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