Ann-Sophie’s Story | February 17, 2019
Gender-based street harassment is an epidemic affecting women, non binary, and trans folks in cities all around the globe. Join Catcalls of NYC writer Jessica Hutt in hearing first-hand accounts from people who are saying “NO!” to catcalling. In this interview, read the story of Ann-Sophie, a German woman who encountered catcalling for the first time very early on in life and has been dedicated to empowering women ever since.
Jessica Hutt: Where are you from?
Ann-Sophie Meyers: Frankfurt, Germany.
Hutt: How old were you when you were first catcalled?
Meyers: I think I was 14.
Hutt: What happened? Who catcalled you? What did they say/do?
Meyers: I can not remember the first time, but I remember that one time in the bus when I was wearing a skirt and tights, some forty year old guy asked me if I wanted to sit on his lap, because the bus was so crowded.
Hutt: How did the experience make you feel in the moment and after the fact?
Meyers: It took me long to realise what the man meant, but I felt dirty and got of the bus to walk home.
Hutt: How did you react outwardly?
Meyers: I did not really react, but some other men in the bus were laughing. I just walked home.
Hutt: Did you tell anyone what happened? If so, how did they respond?
Meyers: I told one of my friends. She told me that men are pigs and I should not wear skirts.
Hutt: Do you believe that catcalling is a compliment?
Meyers: It’s not a compliment. Men are not allowed to sexualize woman or little girls.
Hutt: Do you go out of your way to avoid situations in which you could be catcalled?
Meyers: I did not take the bus for a very long time after the incident.
Hutt: Did you feel the need to change your behavior after the experience?
Meyers: I stopped wearing skirts or tight shirts, and now I always carry my keys in hand [in case I] need to punch someone.
Hutt: What do you think can be done to end street harassment?
Meyers: Educate men and empower women.
Hutt: Why is it important to end street harassment?
Meyers: It’s not okay that women are scared all day long because men are sexualizing them. That needs to stop because the next step is rape.
Want more stories? Keep checking the Catcalls of NYC blog for new interviews with badass people sharing their personal experiences with street harassment. Special thanks to Ms. Meyers for telling her story and speaking out against unsolicited sexual advances!