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Teen's Viral Message About Sexual Harassment Strikes a Chord

After posting an innocent picture on Snapchat, a follower sent 17-year-old Catrin Williams an unwarranted sexual response, and she (and the Twitterverse!) are not having it.

We've all heard stories where women are sexually harassed on the Internet for posting pictures of themselves. Whether you're covered from head to toe or wearing a bikini, sleazy Internet users can usually find a way to make uncomfortable comments. This rings all-too-true to women around the world who've struggled to escape harassers both online and in real life, no matter how ambiguous and non-sexual they might behave. This type of victim-blaming, in which women are told to dress or act differently to avoid unwanted attention, is a serious problem that only serves to take responsibility away from the perpetrators and place onto the victim. Not cool.

Catrin Williams, a 17-year-old student from South Wales, UK, shared a picture of her new headphones on Snapchat, and within moments, one of her followers responded with a sexual comment.

 

Via Twitter

 

Women have been told to watch what they wear to avoid any type of sexual attention since the beginning of time. In less than 140 characters, Cat casually points out how sexual harassment has less to do with your clothes, your looks, or where you come from––it's based entirely on your gender.

"I saw the message and couldn't help but thinking of how it seemed impossible as a young girl on the internet to share anything without running the risk of having someone message you inappropriate things," she told Buzzfeed. "I [was] also annoyed because it seemed that as a young woman on the internet, you really can't escape casual sexual harassment."

Seriously though, if sharing a picture of an inanimate object can garner unwanted sexual attention like this, how are we supposed to avoid harrassment? Bustle makes a great point about where the responsibility lies in these situations––and it's always with the harasser. No one is ever "asking for it." And the thousands of Twitter users who retweeted Cat's tweet couldn't agree more with our collective disgust.

Cat says her Twitter has been flooded with notifications from people who appreciate her for speaking up. "It's been pretty heartwarming to see all these people agree that it's wrong, and to see many men shocked at the comments," she said. "I've seen many women saying they've experienced similar things, which brought my attention to just how big of a problem it is."

Thanks to Cat and the other women who have shared their sexual harrassment stories, more people are aware of the problem––and feel empowered to put an end to it. For more tips on dealing with unwelcome attention, check out Hollaback.org.

Faith Brar

Faith is an Editorial/Social Media Assistant at Meredith Corporation from Boston. Her work has appeared in Shape, Fitness, Better Homes and Gardens, More and others. When not writing, Faith can be seen pounding a bag of Jalapeno chips, online shopping, out on a run or binge watching murder mysteries on Netflix with her main squeeze.

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