THE TRUTH ABOUT CATCALLING, AND WHY IT NEEDS TO STOP!

Hey there! It’s Monday, and today, I am here to discuss very serious stuff. I have been teased by idlers/catcallers many times before, but I have always decided to let it go. This time, however, I am going to write a piece of my mind. Today (it’s Sunday as I write this), I was walking back home from church alone, since my mum had a meeting and had to be left behind. As I was walking, I reached this common ‘matatu’ (public transport) stage, where people board these ‘matatus’ to get to different destinations within our neighborhood. There were these two touts trying to get people to board their vehicle. As I was walking past them, one of them whispers to me, “Hey baby!” I ignore him, and he goes on to say, “Hautaniongelesha?” meaning, “You won’t talk to me?” Knowing better, I say nothing, and the expression on my face stays firm. The funny thing is, I am dressed in a fully-buttoned trench-coat, jeans, a scarf and oldskool shoes. I was walking to the shop to get something, after which I would walk home, but, to walk back home from the shop, I would need to pass by that ‘matatu’ stage again, and honestly, I dreaded it. For that simple reason, I chose to get on a motorcycle instead. I would rather pay 50 shillings than pass near those idiots again.

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First thing about cat-callers is that they are idiots. They’re ignorant, dumb, stupid, probably uneducated, and, if educated, simply too dumb to decipher the knowledge that they were given. All catcallers, in my opinion, have brains the size of a pea. In a way, keeping that in mind has often helped me get over the number of catcalls that I’ve received. Knowing that these idiots wake up without having life goals makes me understand that they are just too dumb to even realize how dumb they are. Okay! I’m pushing it. I’m just really angry; but my point is, these cat-callers always have something to say to do with how you look on the outside, and that goes far in showing the thinking and reasoning that these idiots have/use. If you (a catcaller) told me something to do with how we can achieve the millennial development goals, or about how we can solve certain economic problems, I probably would not be as offended. The fact that these idiots choose to comment on something physical about you, just goes to show that they see nothing beyond their noses.

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I challenge you to observe and study catcallers keenly, and you will discover that these are the people who have no ambition in life. That explains why they have the time to sit down on the side of the streets/roads and watch as people walk by, then shout their opinions (who asked you anyway?). I mean, seriously, how idle could you be? Don’t you have at least a dog to feed back at home, rather than just sit there, doing literally nothing? Oh! And if your compliments are so genuine, why do they always turn into insults the moment I ignore them or say something back to you?

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Actually, scratch what I just said a little bit earlier! Don’t even study these idiots. Society has already done that for us. Simply look at men like Bill Gates, Jack Ma, Barack Obama and the like.. literally sit down and study such men. Do they have the time to watch a girl walk by the street and say, “Hey baby!”? No! They don’t, because they know that something called respect exists, and it doesn’t cost much to show it. It is important to note that, they didn’t get there (to their success) all at once. I am sure they had their stages in life where they were hustling, and during such times, they could have chosen to use their free time to go out in their neighborhood and catcall girls/women out there, right? But they had life goals, ambitions, and instead, they chose to invest that time in pursuing their dreams. More than that, they understood/understand that, you can’t shout ‘nice words’ to a woman in a nasty way in public, and term that as compliment. They understood/understand the essence of respect.

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You can’t grope a girl’s butt as she passes by, or even just touch her hand, and say that that’s your way of telling her she’s pretty. Did she give you permission? NO! So, why are you touching her? Why are you as much as looking at her in a lustful way? The Bible itself is against it, so who the hell are you to think you are the exception? The successful men we all talk of so much had/have common sense to know that a woman’s body is HERS, so don’t lick your lips as she passes by, or whisper something to your ‘boyz’ about her body. Keep your dirty nasty thoughts to yourself, and tame them, you idiot!

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I agree that society has created or built up on this mentality of objectifying women, but that is still no excuse. I keep saying that society should not set the path for us, and I mean it. The fact that we are in 2017, and yet still talking about objectification of bodies, is just sad. This does not apply to only women; I know that men too get objectified, and that is also wrong. We should see people beyond their physical attributes. Our bodies are literally just vessels holding the spirit within it. The inside is always what matters more. If you still look at someone, and judge them or react based on what they look like on the outside, you have a really big problem.

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As I have said, there is no excuse for catcalling. I know that some women and maybe even some men, dress provocatively, but that still does not give you the right to objectify them. In the world, there will always be temptation, but that doesn’t mean that we should give in. Even if someone walks naked on the streets today, however wrong and absurd that is, you do not have the right to touch his/her body, or shout words at them that objectify them. You shouldn’t even as much as continue to look at them; you should get something to cover them up, and do precisely that; cover them, but let’s be real, how many people today would do that? Many people come up with the excuse that, ‘He/she asked for it!’. That is nonsense. People do not ask for it. Whether or not someone is dressed provocatively, catcalling is wrong.

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Many times, we are told, ‘don’t walk alone in certain streets’, ‘don’t leave your drink unattended’, ‘carry pepper spray with you’ and such types of advice. I am not here to contradict that at all. Yes! We should teach our children these precautions to protect them from bad situations that they could easily find themselves in if they act ignorant, but if that is the only measure we take, we are giving these vices a place in our society. Rather than removing them, we are ‘adapting’ to them, which is not a solution. We need to take action and stop blaming people for what happens to them. If, for example, a girl/woman is catcalled, the first question should be, “Who did it?”, and not, “What was she wearing?”. I was reading a story about this girl who was talking about how she was catcalled and sexually harassed twice by some friends of her then boyfriend, and both times she told her boyfriend about it, his first reaction was, *paraphrased*, “Why are you dressing like that? Were you flirting with them?” and such. Instead of addressing the real problem here, he was justifying it, and that is exactly the problem with society today. Before we lift our fingers to scold someone for something that they did, which put them in that horrible situation, can we first raise our voices to ensure that those who did wrong face the law? Or get the punishment they deserve? Yes, taking precaution is good and necessary, but no! It cannot be the only solution we give. We need to start dealing with the root problems here. If something is wrong, let it be dealt with thoroughly, without holding back.

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Every time I am about to leave the house, the first thing I do is stand in-front of the mirror and look at my outfit, then ask myself, “Would this make me get catcalled?” Why? Because if I decide to walk from home to, say the shops or the bus stop, I almost always have to pass by the ‘matatu’ stage that I just mentioned in the beginning of this post; and there, so many idlers are always sitted, waiting for their turn to reach so that people can board their ‘matatus’. I dread even just the thought of walking past that ‘matatu’ stage. The sad thing is, even on the days when I have worn a loose T-shirt and baggy jeans, or like today, when I am dressed in a fully-buttoned trench coat, and even a scarf, these idiots still find something to say that makes me feeling very humiliated and violated. I may get over the feeling eventually, but it makes me extremely cautious, even when unnecessary. For example, one day, I was walking with my sister, and some two guys started to shout, “MISS! MISS!” We both knew that they were calling us. I was so scared, and I told my sister that we should walk even walk faster. However, a few steps ahead, I realized that I had dropped my scarf, and when I turned back, I saw the scarf on the ground. Turns out they were calling me to tell me that I had dropped my scarf, but because of all the catcalling that I have experienced/heard about, I was not taking chances and I automatically assumed that they wanted to tease us. I went back and as I picked up my scarf, I heard them say, *paraphrased*, “Alidhani tunamchokoza!”, meaning, “She thought we were catcalling her!”. In a way, I was happy they knew that, because maybe they would tell their friends, who might happen to be catcallers, that story, and maybe that would make even one of them stop it; but who am I kidding, they probably didn’t.

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What I am still driving at is that, catcalling is not okay. It is not a compliment. It is absolutely different when, say, my friend/boyfriend/relative, tells me, “You look beautiful in that outfit!”, as opposed to an idler on the street shouting, “You look nice, mamacita!”. When someone with whom you have a meaningful relationship tells it to you, it is a compliment, and they are not forcing it on you; but these idiots shout it to you so as to humiliate you and force it on you. They want to remind you that they feel they have dominance over you, and that’s just trash. Likewise, you don’t need to touch me so as to convince me to enter your ‘matatu’ or buy your product or for any reason in-fact; yet for some weird reason, these idiots think they can touch you or grope you, ‘because they feel like it’. It is not okay, and as I said before, it does not in any way serve as a compliment. I have a mind of my own, and I can decide whether or not I want to enter your ‘matatu’ or buy your product without having any physical contact with you. Keep your hands off me, and keep your mouth shut! That will serve as a compliment just fine, you idiot!

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I am a firm believer in the word of God, and I do believe that wives should be submissive to their husbands; not in the way where the husbands harass them, no! I mean in the way that, there is the understanding that, there can only be one head of the family, and God clearly made it Adam, aka, man. That is true! However, a woman does not have to submit to any other man before she gets married. No man has dominance over you. This thing that these idiots try to do is nonsense. You can’t just look at a woman and decide that, ‘You can do anything you want to her because you are a man.’ Why you ask? BECAUSE YOU CAN’T!! Women are not pets. You can’t tell us “SIT!” and expect us to sit. We are not dogs. You cannot just shout things to us and expect that to serve as a point that you have more power. You have no dominance over a woman just because you are a man. That’s not how it works.

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As I have said before, the way these catcallers behave goes to show a lot about how they think and reason, but with brains the size of a pea, I am not all that surprised by how dumb they are. The fact that they know how horrible or insecure catcalling makes a person feel, yet they still do it, shows how selfish and stupid they are. I mean, honestly, with lack of ambition, as these idiots, what would you expect? I don’t owe you any attention, simply because I am a woman and you are a man.

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Lemme go on to say that, if you, as a man, see another man catcalling a woman, and you stare but do nothing about it, I consider you as stupid as the catcallers themselves. And yes! Whether you’re the CEO of some huge company or the best lawyer in town, I still do think that you have a brain the size of a pea too. There was this one time my mum and I were buying fruits from a fruit vendor. There were two men selling the fruits. Another man came and began harassing us. This time, I wasn’t even keen on the idiot that was harassing us; I was staring at the other two idiots who were just watching the man bother us and not even as much as saying a word. My mum got rid of the this idiot who was harassing us, but my heart was broken. What kind of world did we live in, where a man can see his fellow man bothering a girl, but he does nothing about it? When we asked them why they did nothing, they said, “Msijali! Huyo anakuanga tu hivyo!” meaning, “Don’t worry! That guy is always like that!”. Are you freaking kidding me? So that makes it okay for him to bother us? EXCUSES! EXCUSES! EXCUSES! That is the problem with today’s world. We need to stop justifying wrong things with the excuse that, ‘it happens’. WE NEED TO GET TIRED OF ALL THESE VICES! Of course, there are some good men out there, who always come to the rescue. It is no surprise that more often than not, these good men are normally family men, who are able to imagine this girl or woman being their wives/daughters/sisters/mother, or who necessarily don’t have a family, but they do have a heart of gold, and can also imagine this girl/woman as their mother/sister/cousin. My point? These men, who care enough to help the girls/women being harassed, have hearts, and you cannot in any way compare these men to the idiots that exist in society today, who just watch but say/do nothing about it.

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All I’m trying to say is that, catcalling needs to end. I don’t know how, I don’t know when, but I hate it. I was feeling very horrible today after that little incident, but when I went online while looking for some things to help me with this post, I came across stories that other girls had shared about their catcalling experiences. To any girl, or even boy, who goes through such an incident, you are not alone. Many times when I have been catcalled, I rush to my mum or sister an tell them how bad I feel. They share some of their experiences with me, and, as sad as it is to hear how widespread it is, I am able to feel better knowing that I am not the only one who has gone through that. Talk to someone, and, of course, pray! You will feel better telling God how you feel. Truth is, you may be dressed as Santa Claus, and yet some idiot will still tease you. While online, I saw some ways to tackle these idiots when they catcall you. One was, ask them if that’s how their mother raised them, or how they’d feel if their daughter/sister was treated like that. I can’t remember all of them, but another was, shout and ask them to repeat what they said. This will attract attention of other people and humiliate them. You could even twist their words and make a terrible joke that will embarrass them. These ways could work, but where possible, I would advise you to do what my father advised me yesterday; just walk away and say nothing. Wise men once said, ‘Don’t argue with fools.’ These catcallers are idiots, and arguing with them may not help. If anything, it could easily make things worse. However, note that I said, where possible. If an idiot or a group of idiots are harassing you continuously, or even go as far as touching or groping you, shout and get the attention of people. Embarrass them. I hate to say this, but, also, where you can, avoid walking near such idiots. I feel really bad saying this because, we shouldn’t be living in a society where we are told everything we shouldn’t do, as if it’s our fault that we get catcalled. We should be dealing with the problem by trying to end it, but unfortunately, that isn’t what is happening. So, where possible, avoid these idiots as much as possible.

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Lastly, someone please pass all my love to Josh Peck. He serves as a reminder that some good people still exist, and I hope this gives you, gives us hope, that maybe one day, this will not be a discussion. Hopefully, one day, everyone will reason like Josh Peck. Also, I may not have said this early enough but, these catcallers are not a representation of all the men in the world. Some good men do exist out there. Regardless of how many people get catcalled everyday, there is a ‘Josh Peck’ out there. Don’t lose faith in humanity just because of anything terrible you may have experienced in the world (not just catcalling; literally anything bad you may have experienced). As hard as it may be to believe this, good people do exist; and if you doubt it, look at yourself (I am saying that, hoping that you are one of the good people in the world, and not the ones making lives hard for others).

Always remember that, regardless of the number of idiots that exist in the world, you are beautiful. YOU DEFINE YOU! As usual, don’t forget to:

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Have a lovely week ahead! 🙂

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11 thoughts on “THE TRUTH ABOUT CATCALLING, AND WHY IT NEEDS TO STOP!

  1. This is so very true. Nowadays they have new names, there’s a construction site near our home and since there’s no other route for me to pass, sometimes I hear the construction workers call me “minji minji”. Who told them I am interested? I also remember when I was about 12, and my cousin was 14, a tout started touching her butt and thighs. We had to get out of that matatu. This behaviour is such a disgrace in this century and should NOT be tolerated.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Long post! Emotions pored out. Sense and point made.

    Big ups Sylvia it’s part of being female 😝😝
    I know how my idiot fellow brothers of the male species are those that don’t catcall in public will still secretly perve and imagine all kinds of nonsense in their minds. The depravity is annoying.

    Like you’ve said we need to stop making excuses and address the problems. While there’s certain need for precaution and discipline in dressing we shouldn’t ignore the offenders.

    Sadly we can’t arrest them and they’ll keep existing but maybe when we do some national orientation and improvement programmes on them they’ll reduce drastically.

    I apologize ahead of time for the times you’ll get catcalled. Like your smart father said walk away

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha!Yes, I was pretty angry when writing this post. All the same, I do agree with your thoughts on orientation and improvement programs. As hopeless as it may seem, I still hold on to that tiny belief that just maybe our society can change and mature from such acts of disgrace. Thank you for your feedback!

      Like

  3. I don’t really have anything to add to this truthful post. I see how some men conduct themselves on a daily basis here and some of them have to be reminded that they don’t want to see their daughters as the object of older men’s sexual gratification. A woman can be dressed modestly and yet, men would see it fit to catcall her. I do love Josh Peck, though.

    Liked by 1 person

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