If a girl is being catcalled

Video by Bogdan via UN Volunteers

Post written by Karin 

How to respond when men tease you (as a girl/woman) when you're minding your own business or simply walking down the street.

Imagine: You’re walking down the street. It’s a nice sunny day outside and you’re wearing your favorite dress or those cute little shorts you just bought. You feel great and you are on the way to meet your friend. You pass a group of guys and then suddenly you hear one of them say: “Look at that sexy bitch.” What is you reaction? Do you feel flattered? Do you feel uncomfortable? Do you feel disrespected?

This scenario of cat-calling is experienced pretty much by every woman at least once in her life.
Some might say that women overreact by disliking and feeling uncomfortable when being cat called. But who are those people who allow themselves to call out to girls and women, and judge them?

It is never ok to cat call a girl.
Once, I was walking down the street with a good friend of mine. It doesn’t matter how she was dressed at this point because the men at the side of the road would have said something in every situation. We passed by them and one of them yelled: “You should wear fewer clothes because I would love to see your curves.” My friend stopped. Turned around and went up to the guy. Her first sentence was: “Is that what your mother raised you to do when you see a girl?”, following that she gave him a whole run down on how she felt like. That she felt diminished. Disrespected. Uncomfortable. Harassed. In the end she asked him what he would do if someone would cat call his mum, sister, cousin, or girlfriend and how he would feel about it. We did not wait for his response. We left the scene.

Was that the best respond to give to this guy?
To be honest, I don’t know. There is no general response. Sometimes, it is better to not turn around and call the guy out. First of all, it is important that you don’t find yourself in a dangerous situation. A guy that is already teasing women without a reason might not be the smartest and in the worst case he can become physically aggressive. Especially, if you are walking home by yourself at night or after the club.  

When to respond?
Before you call him out make sure YOU are safe. Are people around you that could support you? People who witnessed the scene? Are your friends with you? Is there even a security man in front of a club, or a bar man that heard the guy? In some cases it is smarter to ignore whatever the person was saying and to get out of the situation as fast as you can. To walk away is not a sign of weakness! It means you chose to be the smarter and stronger person.

 How to respond to a guy teasing you?
The guy will expect you either ignore him or to shoot back a smart ass response so that he can start a discussion with you. A good way to respond is following: Go up to the guy, and tell him how you feel. Yes, he might joke around and more importantly he doesn’t want to lose his face in front of his buddies. But keep going. Get out all the verbs you have in store such as worthless, raped, diminished, disrespected, harassed, hurt, disgusted, and so on. Even if he doesn’t show a specific reaction, his brain will be racing. Keep in mind: A lot of guys don’t think they are doing anything wrong…but maybe next time he’ll think twice about calling out a girl.  

In the end it is your decision if you want to call the guy out or if you walk away without acknowledging his existence. But always be sure that you stay safe, because that is more important than teaching any guy a lesson!

Watch more here.


Karin Philippczyk
Karin, 23, is a world traveler currently on search of a new travel goal. She is bilingual, having been raised by a German dad and a French mom - also reason for exceptional and unnecessary strict table manners. She is studying International Business Administration.


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