Catcalling is a term referring to when a man whistles, yells, screams, or sexually makes inappropriate comments to women. It’s’s something that happens thousands of times a day all over the world; is it ”playful banter” or is it harassment?

Most women have experienced catcalling at some point in their life, and for quite a few women, it’s something that starts when they’re very young. I can remember grown men honking at me and yelling at my friends and me from their car when I was just thirteen years old. I still experience it almost every time I leave my house.

I view catcalling as harassment; we don’t ask to be yelled at or told we “have a nice ass,” and we don’t wake up and get dressed to make some random man on the streets think I’m ”sexy”. What is even creepier about catcalling is that a majority of the time, it’s usually an older male, I can recall being catcalled by hundreds of men old enough to be my father when I was just fourteen years old.

Not only is catcalling creepy and unnecessary, but it’s also terrifying. I can recall when I was sixteen years old, and I was walking around downtown Seattle when a man approached me and told me he “liked my body.” I respectfully said thank you and tried to walk away, which resulted in him grabbing my arm and having him try to drag me with him. Thankfully, I broke free and was able to run away, but it was a terrifying experience, regardless.

I shouldn’t feel scared to ride the bus, walk around my city, or just leave my home in general because I’m afraid of being harassed, kidnapped, or even raped!

Many people have tried to claim catcalling is the woman’s fault. Saying that she ”provokes” the men by wearing revealing clothes or presenting herself in a way that makes men think its “okay to harass her sexually.”

I say that’s ridiculous; studies have been done that prove women wearing all types of clothing are catcalled. Also, showing skin isn’t an invitation to be harassed or anything to be ashamed about.

What I don’t understand is, at what point in life do men start believing it’s okay to make lewd and inappropriate comments at women? Was it in school when they learned that a girl’s skin was a ”distraction” to them, or was it the constant sexualization of women that is all around us?

Regardless, it is time to stop. Let’s focus on making the world a place where women don’t have to fear riding the bus or walking down the street. Let’s teach today’s youth that sexual harassment isn’t funny and isn’t playful. Let’s stop catcalling.