Street harassment has become a big topic of conversation over the last few weeks, and one Tumblr user decided to address her biggest pet peeve head on.
“So often, when women try to talk about the harassment we face, we’re met with that stupid question, ‘What were you wearing?’ as if WE are the ones responsible for what happened to us,” Kati Heng told Buzzfeed in a recent interview.
So she set up a Tumblr page “documenting what real girls were really wearing when they were the objects of street harassment.”
“A man on Chicago’s red line told me: ‘I hope you aren’t a homosexual because you’re a cute little thing and that would suck for a lot of men.’ As if I exist for the mere pleasure of ‘a lot of men.'”
Heng got the idea to start “But What Was She Wearing: Stop the Cat Call” after her own experiences.
“A couple days before I launched, I got catcalled twice in one weekend – the first time, wearing a shorts and a baggy flannel, walking with my boyfriend, some dude yelled out his car to my boyfriend, ‘Hey, I want to f–k your girlfriend!’” she revealed.
“That one was really upsetting because I wasn’t even the object of harassment any more; I was just an object for men to compete over.”
“…He proceeded to tell me how ‘fiiiiine’ I was and wanted to ‘see what was under that thing’ referring to my hijab. I immediately rolled my window down and burst into tears. My cheeks burned red with anger as I continued to hear him say things like ‘awww don’t cry mami! I’ll make you feel better!'”
Heng said responses to the page has been very positive, though males are often in disbelief over the postings.
“Sometimes guys will call out outfits and tell me that I made it up, I didn’t really get harassed in that outfit,” she told Buzzfeed. They’re surprised “that I do have something to submit every two days.”
“I was doing a drug screen on a very large male behind a closed door. He asked me ‘has anyone told you how beautiful you are?’ I was glad I was finished so I just said ‘ok we’re all done here.’ Then he said he’d ‘be thinking of me’ on his next truck route.
Check out Heng’s page here.