Cat calling/harassment

Not a rant, this is my first post here having often flicked through se23L for some time and a topic I feel important to bring to the forum.

For clarity I am male.

Over the course of the past year my younger sister has moved down to London and started living with me in FH. On numerous occasions she has come home upset and angry at having had comments and whistling passed at her in the street by complete strangers - often in the evening but even in the middle of the day - most usually on the High Street/Dartmouth Rd, even outside the train station.

Naturally this causes me anger and frustration as well. It’s not fair that anyone, let alone a 21 year old woman should feel intimidated or unsafe whilst in public spaces within their local community. It also occurs to me - perhaps slightly more naive as a bloke in my 20s - that our friendly, diverse, inclusive local area seems at least more of an unlikely setting for sexually aggressive individuals to be shouting at women in the street.

More than anything, I’m keen to understand if this something anybody else has experienced or noticed happening. It goes without saying that it’s shameful and unacceptable, but I feel this is a discussion that ought to be opened if more people are suffering and feel unable to talk about it.

One concerned brother


Sadly street harrassment can be common experience for women anywhere in London and most other towns and cities. I have lived in London for 19 years and it happens a lot. I was called an ugly fat bitch and then followed for a short while just a few weeks ago on London Road when I ignored a man’s advances.


I have been catcalled and subjected to sexual comments from men when running, when cycling, crossing the road, going to work, going home from work, getting the bus, waiting for the train, when out shopping - the list goes on. Mostly it is just shouting but there has been a few times when i have been grabbed, groped or followed.

It happened a lot when I was young and single, less now as I am older and am more often with my boyfriend on nights out.

It isn’t acceptable and it is deeply irritating and sometimes frightening, but sadly a common experience for all women. I think some men don’t think of the impact it has on women and some men seem to enjoy making us feel uncomfortable.


Sorry to hear that and really sympathise, as it must be awful to experience. But as @HannahM rightly points out, sadly an ever more commonplace occurrence nowadays, perhaps even more so than in the days when it was limited to coming from building sites. Both my daughters have been on the receiving end and hate it, but just ignore it - give anything back and you now risk assault either verbal or physical. And it’s not just when they’re alone. I was with my youngest recently who’s 19 and someone made an inappropriate comment - unbelievable.


It’s horrible and not acceptable. This video is worth a watch, though doesn’t give a solution.

I also think I have seen footage where the cat caller was confronted and had a reasoned discussion. It seemed he genuinely believed that he was being complimentary and he didn’t at all see how he his comments might be unwelcome or his behaviour threatening.


I’m 22 and sadly I’ve suffered from numerous taunts and sexual comments both living in London and in Coventry where I’m originally from. Sometimes I have the courage to respond, but it’s absolutely terrifying. @Mac_SE23 is right about risking verbal/physical assault simply for defending yourself. It’s completely exhausting. I’m tired of being told to smile, being asked to spend the night with men, being called a f-ing bitch for getting angry at sexual comments. I have friends who have experienced far worse – to be honest, I don’t know any woman who hasn’t had to deal with this in one form or another.


I’ve only retaliated once. A man grabbed me on London Bridge and tried to kiss me - I instinctively recoiled and slapped him hard on the face. He was so shocked he let go and stared at me and I ran off.


I have a stunning 21 year old daughter who is half Chinese half Scottish, her brother is younger (16) and always sticks up for his sister no matter what, That’s what brothers do. She has never been harassed in FH and I used to live on D Rd. I have always felt safe in that area. Saying that most people know me and my daughter in the area as I used to have a shop and am involved in Community stuff and my daughter has a black belt in Karate and wouldn’t think twice to use moves if someone approached her, so my comment might not be relevant. But as we live in London I think it’s a good idea for females to take up some sort of self defence class in general.


This is not to diminish anyone’s experience at all but as an overweight male I have also had quite a lot of catcalls / comments - mostly from moving vehicles but sometimes also from groups of teenagers. It is not a nice experience, and I know it happens to others too. There was one time someone said something particularly unpleasant from a moving car that then became stuck in the usual traffic at the junction on the South Circular near Sainsburys - we had words and the guy looked terrified. However most of the time I wear headphones so I can’t hear what people say. I don’t think if you haven’t experienced the kind of name calling that goes on you can’t understand. It totally ruins your confidence to hear someone singling you out. What I don’t get often, which is different to many women’s experiences, is comments made in the street to my face. If this happens it is pretty much always groups of teenagers after school, and as soon as you make eye contact they back off (in my experience). This is a lot rarer than the moving car or van situation. Any kind of behaviour like this seems unacceptable in 2019.


You would certainly think in these so called enlightened times that women would be left alone, but sadly not! This sort of thing has been happening for years & it doesn’t make it right. I agree with Pauline & Mac & as shown in that video that just ignoring them is the best thing to do. By responding it shows you have noticed them & that is what they want as it shows you are intimidated.


With respect, no-one (no matter their tribe or affiliation) should have to ignore people. It just shouldn’t happen. As a 6ft plus male I cannot say it has happened to me personally, but once to anyone is too much.


You do know that people like that are worthless, and you are worth so much more. Just my opinion.

If you fancy meeting for a refreshment some day give me a shout, I’m more than capable to give teenagers a kick up the bum and most in the area know me so will listen and apologise.

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