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Meet The Woman Who's On A Mission To End Catcalling With Street Art

Meet The Woman Who's On A Mission To End Catcalling With Street Art

Catcalling is a struggle many women face on a daily basis - but one Londoner who's had enough is on a mission to end street harassment with chalk art.

Farah Benis has taken to the streets of the capital to share women's personal experiences of catcalling, chalking them on the pavement and sharing them to her 'Catcalls of London' Instagram.

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And just this week, the activist successfully got a petition she put to parliament approved - which asks the UK government to examine why there isn't laws in place to protect women from street harassment.

Speaking to Pretty52, the 32-year-old founder said that she was inspired to launch the platform by 'Catcalls of New York City' in the hope to raise awareness about the issue in the UK.

Credit: Farah Benis
Credit: Farah Benis

Benis said her goal is to empower other women to question the "status quo" and "instigate change, allowing us all to feel safer in our streets" - something we certainly can get behind.

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She shared: "Having worked in male-dominated industries and faced harassment everywhere from the boardroom to the streets I got to a point where I was fed up and wanted to see change.

"Often, people are unaware of the extent of daily harassment and how added up it really affects women and how they hold themselves in society...

Adding: "Women and girls share their experiences and I chalk the words that have been said in the places that they happened.

Catcalls of London founder Farah Benis pictured above. Credit: Rebecca Hocknell
Catcalls of London founder Farah Benis pictured above. Credit: Rebecca Hocknell

"The aim of this is to highlight the extent and severity of gender-based street harassment faced by women. This has grown into mentoring youth campaigns and speaking in schools educating young people about harassment."

Despite advances against some forms of harassment such as upskirting, catcalling is not classed as a legal offence in the UK and Farah wants that to change.

"Here in the UK, I want this to be taken more seriously by government and police - I'd love to see a France style law that imposes on the spot fines," she explained.

"Women need to be able to feel safe in public spaces and I think legislation will help that."

She recently teamed up with 'Catcalls of NYC' to launch "Chalk Back" - a website designed to help fellow activists to set up their own groups and chalking events.

But if you're not ready to set up your own campaign, Farah said "be an ally" to those being targeted and if you see it happening "call it out".

She concluded: "There is nothing normal about harassment, so don't normalise it."

The activist's efforts haven't gone unnoticed and just this week she successfully got a petition she put to parliament nearly two months ago approved.

The petition asks the UK government to examine why there isn't laws in place to protect women from street harassment like our European counterparts France, Portugal and Belgium.

Find out more about Farah's campaign here and sign her petition to make catcalling and street harassment a punishable offence here.

Featured Image Credit: Rebecca Hocknell

Topics: Life News, Real, Life, Real Life, London

Lisa McLoughlin

Lisa is a freelance journalist working for Tyla. She has worked for MailOnline, The Sun Online and Ireland's national broadcaster RTÉ. Please contact her on [email protected]

 

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