The first time I remembered being catcalled, I was 12 years old. I was walking my dog and a car rolled past me, three men yelling and whistling.
They drove slow until I walked into a side street and they sped off.
Unfortunately, every woman I know would be able to provide a similar anecdote.
And, despite many thinking that catcalling is a bizarre, backhanded compliment, it’s not. Full stop.
To highlight the often relentless catcalls a woman can be subjected to, 20-year-old, Noa Jansma, started documenting her experiences.
The Instagram account, Dear Cat Callers, has Noa posting an image with some of the men who whistle, or even chase her down the street.
Despite her face clearly saying she is not okay with the behaviour, many of the men included thought she was enjoying it.
Speaking to Buzzfeed News, Noa said she was originally quite scared to ask for their photos.
“I thought men would be suspicious of me, that they would understand my motives when I was taking selfies with them. So I was kind of fearful,” she said.
“But most of the time they have their thumbs up, they’re happy because they honestly think that they’re complimenting me. They really didn’t care about me. They never realized that I was unhappy.”
The project only lasted a month for Noa, and it didn’t even include all the people who harassed her.
“Since many people still don’t know how often and in whatever context ‘catcalling’ happens, I’ll be showing my catcallers within the period of a month,” she wrote on Instagram.
After her own project ended, Noa still encouraged other women to share their experiences.
“To show that it’s a global phenomenon and that this art-project is not only about me, I’ll pass on the account to different girls around the world.
“Thank you for all the support and messages.
“It has made it clear that catcalling is still a common occurrence that many of us are dealing with.”