Jolie Peal

Dear reader,

Catcalling still exists. No, it is not when your cat calls you from home to tell you how much they miss you, though I wish it was.

Catcalling is “the act of shouting harassing and often sexually suggestive, threatening or derisive comments at someone publicly.” These comments tend to include “hey baby,” or “come here, girl,” or any variation of those you can think of. 

First off, I am not a baby, nor a female child. I am a woman trying to walk home from work. Children and babies cannot legally work part-time jobs, except maybe nannying if you’re old enough. 

Also, “girl” implies gender, and we live in 2020. Learn how to respect people’s right to choose his or her or their pronouns. 

Honestly, that’s just me cracking jokes about catcalling and trying to not let it get to me. In all seriousness, catcalling will ruin the person on the receiving end’s day. I know that from firsthand experience.

One evening, as I was approaching my apartment, I noticed two silhouettes in a car parked outside. My gut said, “Bad vibes,” so I kept walking and avoided looking at the car. It didn’t work, though. As I was about to walk up the stairs to the door into my building, I heard a voice call out to me.

“Hey baby, come here, I wanna talk to you.”

Several scenarios ran through my mind, and they all ended badly. The only scenario I felt the safest playing out was ignoring the boys and getting into my building as fast as I could; I quickened my pace. I knew they saw how scared I was, because they started to laugh and yell more.

I walked into my apartment, saw my roommate and broke down crying.

People wonder why women don’t go anywhere alone —  it’s because people think disgusting comments like that are okay. 

The worst part is that there is nothing I can do. They technically aren’t breaking any laws. It’s not continual harassment, and it would take time out of my day to file a report. I don’t know the guys and wouldn’t be able to track them down. 

All I can do is try to forget about it and go on with my life until it happens again. For me, it happened again the very next day, but with new people.

As a society, we have believed the idea that women can’t do anything to stop catcalling. This is where we have gone immensely wrong. If we all band together and start to do something about it, things will change. 

We need to talk about it more. We have unspokenly agreed to just accept every time a guy calls out and objectifies us. But if we start to talk about it more, not only with other people who experience this, but with the men in our lives, they will start to understand why catcalling is the worst and share it with their friends and so on. 

We also need some laws prohibiting catcalling. While the person may not be directly threatening me with their words, the feelings of threat and helplessness to the victims of catcalling should be a signal to the rest of the world that catcalling is dangerous. When someone catcalls, they automatically receive more power over the person being catcalled because the person being catcalled doesn’t know what the catcaller is capable of. 

I understand laws against catcalling are unrealistic because it’s an act that tends to happen while walking around downtown or as a car drives past you. It would be difficult to find the perpetrator in every instance of catcalling, making it hard to serve justice. 

However, if you are against having laws against catcalling for these reasons, take a step back and realize the fact I’m bringing up this conversation of needing laws against catcalling is an issue itself. If some men just learned to let women walk past without saying anything to them, then this article would never have to be written. I wouldn’t have to sit at my laptop and type this up after an old man in a truck asked for my number and then yelled at me for ignoring him. 

The only way we can ensure future generations won’t have to deal with this is if we start to make a change now — through conversations and laws. I don’t want my younger cousins growing up into a world where they’re uncomfortable to walk down a street in broad daylight, so I’m going to start making a change. 

It’s up to you if you want to join me.

All I want is for the women of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and across the world to walk around without fear of being kidnapped whenever someone catcalls them. Thanks for reading, and hopefully you discovered that you want that, too.

Missing my real cat,

Jolie Peal

Jolie Peal is the assistant news editor. Reach her at joliepeal@dailynebraskan.com.