While grazing through an article about Girl Meets World actress Rowan Blanchard last week, a Huffington Post Women's Editor, Alanna Vagianos came upon something that very disturbing. In the article, the 14-year-old child star confessed to being catcalled by a man much older than her when she was just 12-years-old. Gross right? But the truth is regardless of your age, ethnicity or what you are wearing, if you are a woman, you are susceptible to being catcalled.
The first time I was catcalled, I was 11-years-old. Everyday after school, I walked less than a block away from the bus stop to my house. One day, a man pulled up beside me in his car and rolled down the window and asked how old I was. When I didn't answer, he told me not to be shy and that he was just having "a little fun". I remember my heart starting to race - so fast that it felt like it was gargling in my throat. My ears burned red as I hastened my steps. Half a block to the edge of my doorstep felt like a mile. Over a decade later, I still remember that feeling and have felt it several times ever since.
Vagianos shared a similar experience and so do many other women. She felt that as unpleasant and uncomfortable as a catcalling experience can be, women have a right to share their stories with the world. So, she took to Twitter and asked her followers to tweet their memories about the first time they were catcalled, using the hashtag #FirstTimeIWasCatcalled.
Hundreds of women felt inspired and began sharing the shocking ages and bizarre circumstances under which they were harassed. One wrote, “I was 14, walking down to get Subway for lunch and someone rolled down their window and asked me ‘how much?’"Another wrote, “I was 13 at the beach with my dad wearing a football T-shirt and shorts and some guy whistled at me as I walked past.” There's a lot more where that came from. Here are several other heart-wrenchingly relatable stories.
#FirstTimeIWasCatcalled I was in the 4th grade. Walked by an apartment building and gross dude @ his balcony started spewing indecencies.— Ada Ciuca (@adachooka) April 3, 2016
#FirstTimeIWasCatcalled I was offered $50 for "a go on me". Walking away I heard abuse, scaring me to death and making me hide in a store.— Skylar Smith (@hooklineandskye) April 3, 2016
#firsttimeIwascatcalled I was 9 with my grandma. A man whistled as I walked by. She said "she's a child, pig!" he said "she wont be forever"— Jacey Julep (@JaceyJulep) April 2, 2016
#FirstTimeIWasCatcalled I was 14, walking through town to meet a friend. I walked past a house & the guy inside shouted "show me your tits!"— Kristin Trombetta (@TrombettaK) April 3, 2016
#FirstTimeIWasCatcalled A boy at my school slapped me innopropriately and said "he could make it feel better."— sydney goodwin (@sydd_03) April 3, 2016
He was not punished.
#FirstTimeIWasCatcalled When I was 12, walking our dog & a truck full of GIs were driving off post to enjoy pay day. Never forget that— PaulineOR (@PACBPurdue96) April 3, 2016
@lannadelgrey I was actually 11 at school when another student slapped my ass and called me 'a sexy piece of ass.' I didn't tell anyone.— GirlMeetsQueens (@GirlMeetsQueens) April 2, 2016