Most women would agree that cat callers these days, are everywhere. For some this is a daily occurrence, with men old enough to be their grandfathers shouting sexual comments at women on the street. This intrusive behaviour, becomes even more concerning when we recognise grown men are directing cat calls towards young girls. 

What might seem like a rare occasion, is in fact, far more common than most might think. I sit down with High School Student, Lauren Smith, to discuss her worst experiences as an underage victim of this sexual verbal abuse.

Q. How does it feel when you get cat called? 

A. “I hate it when I get cat called, it’s a bit better when I’m with a friend and it’s both of us, but when I’m alone... I feel super uncomfortable”. 

Q. Do you think they know you’re so young? 

A. “Most of the times I’ve been cat called, they definitely knew I was too young, because I was in my school uniform. Honestly, I don’t think guys should say anything to any girls in uniform, even if it’s a sixth form one, as there’s still a high chance they’re underage.”

Q. What’s your worst cat caller story? 

A. “My worst story is one time, myself and my friends Shannon and Lizzie (who was in year 10 at the time and wearing a brown school uniform), were waiting at the bus stop after a club at school. It was just us three. Two guys in a white van drove past super slowly and rolled down the window and shouted: 

‘Hey girls, show us your t**s!’

Me and Shannon got super angry and protective over Lizzie.”

Q. Lizzie was very obviously underage, not even 16. How did it feel seeing that?

A. “I felt horrified and disgusted. Me and Shannon proper had a go at him. Lizzie was obviously uncomfortable, but not as badly as you’d expect - she was used to it as well.”

Q. How old do you think you were when something like this first happened? 

A. “I mean, it happened when I was younger from other young boys messing around, trying to impress their friends, but the first time it happened from an older man, I was probably 14.”

Q. What have men said to you before?

A. “They’re normally all along the same lines. Sometimes it’s wolf whistles, ‘show us your t**s’, whooping or shouts like ‘ay ladies’ and ‘damn’. Things like that.” 

So, what has been done to help combat this issue? The echo that follows this serious question, speaks for itself. Some women are finally being recognised in other countries. 

American Instagram artist, Noa Jasnma, (who created an account dedicated to exposing cat callers), became viral. France outlawed cat calling, with possible fines of up to €750. And yet it seems the UK is trailing behind in taking action.