Catcalling Isn’t Cute.

Guest Blogged by: Nicole Vitale

Catcalling is probably the MOST common form of sexual assault, and is often laughed at by bystanders because it’s “amusing”.  But amusing would certainly NOT be my choice of words.  Demeaning, disgusting, uncomfortable, violating…. those don’t cover it, but they are the closest I can think of right now.  I immediately feel like my safety is compromised, and begin to get paranoid, constantly looking over my shoulder.  Why should I feel uncomfortable walking on the street, whether I’m dressed like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, or fully covered, I don’t expect or deserve to be objectified.

For the people that catcall, understand that whatever your end-goal is, you’re a jerk, and you’re not going to get anything from it.  It’s not funny for anyone besides you and the stupid people you associate with…

Below is a first-hand account of a “Day-in-the-life” working in New York City by my amazing friend Nicole.  She rocks for her ability to be so blunt and insightful.

9:02 am – Apartment: One of my favorite days of the year is the first official day of Spring. Spring represents new beginnings; The birds start migrating back toward their northeastern nests, and the sun thaws the
thin frost that coats the (minimal) greenery in the city. It’s also, coincidentally, recognized as International Day of Happiness. For the past few years, it’s been the one day that I have a very specific routine: I start my morning with a fitness class to get my endorphins pumping, buy myself a dozen (yellow!) roses to place on my desk at work, pick out a bright, springy dress, and gird my loins for the first official catcall of the season. Mild panic sets in as I stand naked in front of my closet, towel wound tightly around my head resembling a fluffy turban, with my finger rapidly tapping my chin. Should I ditch the dress this year? Showing a bit of heretofore latent thigh can’t be so bad, right? I mean, my legs have been cooped up in jeans and tights all Winter long, ankles sweating in sweltering leather knee-high boots. I owe it to myself to wear a dress this year, on this day. That’s what this day is about, making myself happy. I can’t help but think of the looks I’ll get on my way to the office, the whistles, the beady eyes following my path during my commute. With a sharp inhale, I snatch the dress I want from the closet and layer it with a pilly cardigan to combat the imminent temperature shift from the subway car to my office. I leave my apartment once I’m all put together and made up, and as I gallop down the stairs to the train a gust of wind blows my dress upward. I awkwardly wrangle the fabric around my thighs to avoid flashing any other commuters, but the man at the bottom of the stairs has already seen my thong. He turns away, his face flushed.
10:10 am – Downtown 2 subway car: I can feel a set of eyes burning into me, but I don’t want to turn around to see who’s looking. I turn the volume in my earbuds up, absorbing the words of my podcast and intensely focused on balancing as the car rounds a bend in the tunnel. When I do glance over my shoulder, a man is breathing down my neck. He grazes his arm against my side in order to “grasp the pole”, touching my bottom along the way. I jerk and say, “sorry”, shifting my body away from his extended arm. He just smiles at me. Why did I apologize? He had plenty of room…I have to stop apologizing to people for things that aren’t my fault. He follows me out of the car when I reach my stop and as I hop up the stairs. I bet that perv was staring at my ass, trying to sneak a peek. I get to the front door of my office and the man stops in his tracks, looks at me and goes, “…just…BEAUTIFUL”, and licks his lips. I can hear his deep voice muffled through my podcast. I open the door to the building and ride the elevator up, feeling dirty. I shouldn’t have worn the dress.
1:24 pm – 19th Street & 6th Avenue: I just picked up my lunch at this awesome “fast casual” restaurant that serves roasted veggies and meats. It’s a few blocks away from my office, but worth the trek. Suddenly I feel a raindrop. Shit, I’m a good few blocks and an avenue away from the office, I’ll be soaked by the time I get back. Thank goodness for the constant that is NYC scaffolding on almost every block. I hear someone call out, “hey sweetie!”. I quicken my pace. The delivery guy riding his bike on the street beside me is stuck in traffic, and as he slowly pedals around the stagnant cars, he keeps calling out to me. Growing increasingly more uncomfortable and wet, I shout back, “not interested!”. He says, “what’s your name?”. I move even faster, and when I don’t respond, he yells out, “FAT CUNT!” and rides away as traffic opens up. I’m soaking wet. My dress clings to my breasts and I wrap my arms around my body, continuing to scuttle back to my office.  I shouldn’t have worn the dress.
7:00 pm – Apartment: I’m chilly and tired. My dress is still damp from the earlier rain, despite my best efforts to dry off with my personal heating dish at my desk. I walk into my bedroom and immediately rip the dress off, crumple it into a ball and aggressively slam it into the hamper. I flop down onto my bed in my underwear and exhale sharply. My yellow roses have started to droop, akin to my mood. I stay put for a few minutes with my eyes closed. I have a really bad migraine. I get up and put on oversized sweats and a hoodie – covering myself as much as possible – make a tea, and scroll through my Instagram. I shouldn’t have worn the dress. I shouldn’t have worn the dress. I shouldn’t have worn the dress.

 

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