Disproportionately, women are the victims of catcalling, Source: Depositphotos

Leipzig says “no” to catcalling with a campaign

Leipzig says “no” to catcalling with a campaign

Educating the public about the socially harmful phenomenon came as an idea from the city’s youth parliament

The City of Leipzig has decided to do something about the increasingly rampant phenomenon of catcalling by initiating a campaign to educate the public about its insidious nature and to remind the offenders that this kind of behaviour would not be tolerated.

The campaign called “No compliment” seeks to remind the people engaging in the practice that what they may downplay as innocent attempts to socialize and flirt actually constitutes a form of sexual harassment.

Restoring the feeling of safety in the urban public space

The term catcalling originally describes the act of luring a cat. However, in street parlance, the term is used to summarize sexually connoted behaviour or various types of sexual harassment without physical contact. This includes making suggestive sounds, such as whistling, to draw the attention of a targeted person. Generally, women tend to be the victims of this anti-social behaviour.

Catcalling can have a lasting impact on the feeling of security of those affected and thus mean a withdrawal from public space,” explains Heiko Rosenthal, the mayor of Leipzig. 

He adds: “With the motifs of our campaign, we address the consequences for those affected, which are visible to every passenger. The focus is on subliminal, physical, verbal or other non-physical forms of sexual harassment in public spaces.”

The campaign will consist of street posters that above all aim to educate the people who initiate catcalling and dispel the idea in their minds that these acts are innocent and without consequences. They will seek to impress the message that engaging in this kind of behaviour decreases the feeling of safety and freedom for harassed individuals.

In that sense, the campaign also seeks to address the general public and encourage members of society to not ignore cases of catcalling and to address the harassers or help the victims.



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