The hashtag #NoWomanEver recently made waves on Twitter and a much needed conversation about street harassment ensued.
Nearly every woman has experienced it: walking down a sidewalk, minding their own business, when that is suddenly disrupted. Often it’s the short beeps of a car horn, a low whistle or the shout of something obscene from a car window. While catcalling is more often than not invalidated and written off as harmless fun, #NoWomanEver portrays just how problematic street harassment is.
CJ, the source of the hashtag, started the string of Tweets with a personal experience:
“He blocked me from walking to the register when I was ignoring him in CVS and we been together since that day!” -NO WOMAN EVER
— Miss Black Awareness (@ImJustCeej) June 18, 2016
Soon after, women started sharing their personal experiences:
Oh no, I wasn’t ignoring you. I just didn’t hear your degrading comments the first time. Thanks for getting louder and closer. #NoWomanEver
— Hayley Heninger (@adequatehalo) June 20, 2016
He followed me into my building after yelling at me for blocks. I realized then he was the man for me and let him into my apt #NoWomanEver
— Lil Freedia (@antinewblack) June 18, 2016
“How did your dad and I meet? Well, kids, when he grabbed my ass on the subway, I knew he was the one.” #NoWomanEver
— Alice Hayes (@AliceIsFierce) June 20, 2016
“When he pulled my earplug outta my ear for not responding? My heart melted” – #NoWomanEver
— Real Black (@ruBixCuBedHeart) June 18, 2016
And there were those who didn’t find the humor or substance of the trend:
— Indomitable2 (@Magnificent869) June 18, 2016
— Nicks1010 (@GhostFad3d) June 19, 2016
One Twitter user had a different take on the hashtag:
My gods these trolls are stupid. And why they’re so very offended by women talking about their RL experiences is beyond me. #NoWomanEver
— The Reddest Rose (@TheReddestRose) June 19, 2016
From the thousands of Tweets and countless stories, one thing is very clear: women are uncomfortable with the culture that allows men to openly harass women on the streets.
Senior Lisa Witkowski has experienced catcalling and understands how invasive it can feel, however a remedy could be difficult.
“I really don’t think it’s a problem that can be solved very easily,” Witkowski said.
Is there a solution to street harassment? It may be difficult, but people are optimistic.
In a recent national survey, more than 90 percent of participants believed that there are ways to end street harassment. The group was split on two ends of the spectrum. Fifty-five percent of respondents felt the best remedy to be an increased number of security cameras and police presence, while 53 percent suggested educational workshops about respectful interactions with strangers.
Witkowski suggests women become more educated and learn their own ways to cope with street harassment.
While #NoWomanEver may not dramatically change the landscape of the culture that normalizes catcalling, it has started an important discussion with a sarcastic twist.
What do you think about #NoWomanEver? Let The Western Front know in the comments.