Walking into the Campus Center Thursday morning only to be whistled at by a group of men was not how I planned to start my day.
Yelling “Hey mama” at me outside, or whistling repeatedly at me in the Campus Center is not a form of flattery. It is a form of ignorance. I don’t know when making females feel uncomfortable around campus became a trend, but what I do know is that it is time for it to come to a halt.
When women like me are afraid while walking alone from building to building, that says something about the attitude on campus. Making a whistle, shout or comment of a sexual nature to a female student, in other words “catcalling”, is not flirtatious.
Catcalling is disrespectful and unwanted. I don’t care that your friend wants my phone number, and screaming that across campus will not change that.
I have talked with many women, and they agree that they are afraid to enter the Campus Center because of the frequent harassment they face from male students; so why is no one speaking up? As women, we can shake off your comments, but it’s something bigger than that. The effects of finding ourselves constantly catcalled are negative, and can get in the way of the academic progresses of students.
Something not realized by those who catcall young females is how much they can impact their education. I am now always ready to fake a phone call when I walk past the campus lawn or downstairs in the Campus Center out of fear of being catcalled again, and it shouldn’t have to be that way. Trying to pay attention in class when I am given uncomfortable looks by students doesn’t make me want to focus at all; it makes me want to run out of my lecture hall.
There is a difference between being polite, and being creepy. If you want to compliment my outfit, you may tell me in a kind way. Whistling at me does not get that message across; it only makes me feel like less of a person, being denigrated by your blatant disrespect. If you feel an urge to catcall any female on campus, I beg you, keep your mouth shut.
I am a hardworking college student who pays tuition to receive a proper education, so it is disappointing my tuition goes down the drain with my discomfort on campus. Every Hudson Valley student should have the right to feel comfortable on their own school grounds, so it’s a shame not all students actually do.