An Important Announcement from Garbo
Season 1

Combatting Street Harassment with Sophie Sandberg

In this episode of Reckoning, Kathryn Kosmides speaks with Sophie Sandberg about street harassment, sexual harassment, and catcalling culture. Sophie is a street artist, gender justice activist, and founder of both Catcalls of NYC and Chalk Back. Catcalls of NYC is a grassroots initiative that uses public chalk art to raise awareness about gender-based street harassment in New York City. Chalk Back is an international youth-led movement committed to ending gender-based street harassment with public chalk art, digital media and education.

In this episode, Sophie discusses:

  • Catcalling culture in New York City and how it can leave catcall victims helpless and uncomfortable 
  • How gender norms shape and influence who catcalls and who gets catcalled
  • The spectrum of catcalling and how it manifests
  • What happened when she spoke with a catcaller
  • The legality (or lack thereof) of catcalling and why some catcall victims don’t report the catcalling to police
  • Storytelling as a means to share stories of catcalling and harassment 
  • Reasonably preventing street harassment

Welcome to Reckoning, a podcast that explores gender-based justice, safety, survival, and resilience in the digital age, through conversations with experts and advocates. I'm your host, Kathryn, the founder and CEO of Garbo, a tech nonprofit building a new kind of online background check. Before we jump in, I'd like to warn our audience, that we have raw honest conversations about gender based violence, which may be too much for some listeners. Please put your safety and health above all else when listening.

Kathyrn: Welcome back to another episode of Reckoning. We are so excited for our guest today, Sophie Sandberg. Sophie is a gender justice activist, chalk artist, and founder of the popular initiative against street harassment, Catcalls of NYC. This college class project turned into a worldwide movement and a nonprofit Chalk Back. She is an inaugural fellow of the Vital Voices and TRESemmé Leadership Incubator for Young Women and is involved in local efforts to combat gender-based violence through public arts, education, and events. Our conversation today is about the universal problem of street harassment, also known as catcalling. We dive into how this problem has evolved, how her work aims to combat street harassment and empower young women, and we even tried to get into the head of a catcaller.

Kathryn: Hello, hello, Sophie. How are you doing today?

Sophie: Hey Kathryn, I'm good. How are you?

Kathryn: Doing so well, just want to thank you so much for being here today and why don't you just start by introducing yourself?

Sophie: Absolutely. So I'm Sophie Sandberg. I'm a street artist, gender justice activist, and founder of Catcalls of NYC and Chalk Back.

Kathryn: And Catcalls of NYC inspired the larger Chalk Back kind of organization. What's inspired your journey to where you are today and how did you even get started with this movement?

Sophie: Definitely. So it started five and a half years back. I started Catcalls of NYC when I was a freshman at college at NYU, and I had this assignment to immerse myself in a topic that I cared about and then document it on social media. So it all started then. I really cared about catcalling because it was something that I'd faced growing up in New York City since I was a teenager. It was something that no one really had good advice about. So my parents told me, just ignore it. My dad told me to dress differently, which he apologizes for now. Anyway, it was just an issue that I felt pretty helpless about. So I started addressing it back then for a class project back five and a half years ago. And I just stuck with it. I felt like it was something that was making a difference personally for me, I felt like it empowered me. I wasn't just facing catcalls, now I was also doing something to change the culture around it. And my persistence with it in those first few years led to then a lot of media coverage. And that's how it started to grow into a global movement.

Kathryn: And how big is the Catcalls of Community now? Sophie The Catcalls of Community is now a group of about 160 Catcalls accounts around the world. Yes. So all inspired by Catcalls of NYC. Each Catcall account represents either a city or some actually represent school campuses or high schools. And they chalk in their community, in their city to, like Catcalls of NYC, raise awareness about catcalling.

Kathryn: And community is a huge part of the work that you do. Why do you think it's resonated with so many individuals and how have you fostered that community?

Sophie: Definitely. So I think with my first experience of feeling helpless and confused and there's really nothing you can do in that moment when you're getting catcalled. I think so many people facing street harassment feel helpless and like there's nothing to do to respond. So, I mean, I guess first and foremost, people resonate with it because street harassment happens all around the world and it impacts so many girls, women, folks in the LGBTQ community. So many marginalized folks face street harassment, just walking out of their apartment every single day. So the problem is pretty universal. Obviously it changes culture by culture place by place, but it's a very universal problem. So that's the first thing. But then I think the reason why Catcalls of NYC inspired so many people to join in and why it turned into Chalk Back is because people saw a way that they could get involved and engaged in solving the problem that was really hands-on and people saw it as a way to be less helpless and more empowered.

Kathryn: And you mentioned how catcalls and street harassment is a universal problem around the world. So why do you think street harassment is such a prevalent issue across cultures, across countries, et cetera.

Sophie: Yeah, I mean, I think that has to do with gender norms, right? So I think men are often socialized to believe that it's okay to catcall that it's okay to objectify girls and women on the street. And then that gets reinforced when so many people actually say that catcalling is normal, catcalling is a compliment and that girls and women should be grateful for that type of attention. So I think it continues to be really, really normalized. And then we even get messages from girls who say, I'm not sure if this a bad thing, I'm not sure if this is normal or not, but it felt really weird to me when that old man told me I was beautiful and stuff like that. So I think it continues to be really normalized for people facing it even.

Kathryn: No, it really resonates with me. Like I obviously can't remember the first time I was catcalled, but it was very young age and it happens almost on a daily basis here in New York City when I'm walking down the streets, which kind of gets into what you touched on a little bit as people kind of not knowing if what they're experiencing is street harassment. So, there's you walking down the street and someone says, "hi, beautiful" or "you're so gorgeous" versus an aggressive— and I'm quoting this from the Catcalls of NYC page quotes— "I could fuck you so hard right now". Where is that line? And do you think that there is a difference between types of street harassment?

Sophie: Yeah. That's such a good question. I really liked this question because when I first started Catcalls of NYC, I wanted to illustrate this spectrum. Like some days it is "hello, beautiful", "hello, gorgeous". And then some days it's "I want to fuck the shit out of you". And in some ways it doesn't matter what the catcall is because it just creates this environment where so many people are walking down the street feeling self-conscious, feeling afraid, feeling uncomfortable because they know that some days it'll be maybe something more tame and then another day it'll be something extremely vulgar. The other thing that often happens and that people report to our page a lot is that it will start with something like, "hello, beautiful" and then it'll turn into something more vulgar. For example, the catcaller will get upset that the woman maybe didn't respond and he'll say, "you bitch like respond to me". So I think often that that moment can turn into something where the man gets really sensitive to rejection and then goes off and gets really angry. So in some ways it is a spectrum and obviously it feels different to be called "beautiful" and versus to have something really vulgar screamed at you. But in some ways it doesn't matter because it makes up this whole experience of walking down the street as a girl, as a woman, as someone in the LGBTQ community. So in some ways it doesn't matter, you know?

Kathryn: I agree, like you said, it's all creating this feeling within, inside the victim of being catcalled that you're constantly kind of in fear of, "oh, if I don't respond to them, this could escalate". But then, how do you respond? Like, are you supposed to say "thank you" to someone who literally is commenting on your physical appearance? It's very strange.

Sophie: Right, definitely. And it's just this whole experience of having your focused diverted. You're just going to the grocery store, you're just going to do your daily tasks and then being interrupted in that way is just extremely jarring, no matter what's said. Just the amount of entitlement, I think that comes from catcallers to our time and our attention is really ridiculous. No matter what they say.

Kathryn: Agreed, agreed. And I was at this woman's house, she's kind of like my New York mom is what I call her and she's 60 and I'll tell her, "oh man, I just got catcalled outside, you know, walking from my car to your door, from my Uber to like your door". And she's like, "they're harmless, that's just what they do, it's cultural, it's just a neighborhood thing". How do you feel about that?

Sophie: That's super interesting. I have actually gotten similar sentiments from older women. One older woman who I talked to said, "this is part of New York, it's part of the culture of New York and it's never going to change". And for me that feels pretty invalidating. It feels like I'm opening up about my experience and something that's harmful to me, that's uncomfortable for me, and then you're downplaying it kind of like the culture does. It's just words, it's just the culture. So I think it's just part of, downplaying the behavior. I understand that like they grew up probably like in a different culture and in a different time so I understand where it's coming from, but I do think it comes off as pretty harmful, especially because so many young girls are facing street harassment. So if we normalize it in general, then it ends up continuing to harm these really young girls who are like 11, 12, 13, and starting to face catcalling and street harassment. Yeah. So I find that pretty frustrating actually.

Kathryn: No, I always call it out. No, it's not just words, it's much more than that and this really does impact me to just be sexualized while walking down a street. And like you said, I think it is just something that they grew up with, right? Calling has existed since the dawn of time pretty much. I'm sure of it. It just wasn't called street harassment or catcalling. I don't think there was a name for it previously. And now they're like, "oh, it's just, it's just boys being boys".

Sophie: Right, and I think it can almost be a coping mechanism when you face it so much. It does become normal right? I've been facing it for 10 years at this point and in some ways it can help to say "okay, it's just a part of New York, it's normal" that kind of helps comfort you personally, if it's something you're facing. But then it's also at the same time, so harmful because rather than fighting back against it and trying to change the culture, you kind of just decide that it's okay and it's normal. And I don't know, it's a tricky balance.

Kathryn: Definitely. And kind of moving to catcallers themselves, the actual people perpetuating street harassment. First I want to ask, have you ever had a conversation with someone who is a frequent or known catcaller? And if, no, why not? And how do we maybe facilitate these conversations? And then on the flip side, do we really need to at all? I see both sides of the argument, wanting to understand what is going through a catcaller's head in that moment? But also being like, why should I focus on the problem instead of a solution?

Sophie: Definitely. Yeah, this is another really good question. So no one has ever admitted to me that they're a catcaller. No one has come up to me when I'm chalking on the street and said, "oh yeah, I said this" or "I love saying this to women". That being said, I know when men get angry about what I'm doing, which has happened a bunch of times or when they try to defend it and say, "men say this because girls and women wear tight clothing", stuff like that. I know that they probably have those like deeply rooted beliefs that if women are wearing tight clothing catcalling is okay. So it's this very victim blaming attitude. And I have talked to men like that and that's very difficult. And especially for me, I remember I was 19 still, I was starting the project and I was chalking in a public space and I was wearing a dress. It was summer. And this man came up to me and he was saying, "women deserve to be catcalled if they wear tight clothing, they're asking for it". Quite literally he was saying that and here I was wearing a dress and it was really hard for me in that moment to have that conversation while simultaneously thinking, he's probably looking at me and thinking, I'm one of those people who deserve to be catcalled and sexualized. So what does he think about me? So I think that kind of goes to your question too. Is it worth having those conversations? Who has the responsibility to have those conversations? Is it the ones being catcalled to have to prove to catcallers that they're worth not being sexualized and objectified? I think in general, those conversations would be best had by allies. So other men who are maybe in groups where it's happening, but they've come to realize that it's a bad thing. I think that could be really productive. If other men learn about the behavior from Catcalls of NYC, see that it's wrong and then talk to maybe other men who they know who are doing it. I think that could be really helpful and productive, but in general, I don't think the burden should be put on those facing street harassment to educate catcallers about why it's wrong and say, "I'm a human, I don't deserve to be objectified and sexualized". I have talked to men in general who aren't catcallers, but who don't know about catcalling. Who are blissfully ignorant to the fact that it happens all the time and who have said, "okay, now that I know that it's happening, I'm going to look out for girls and women more on the street and maybe I'll try to step in and do something if I see something happening". So I think that in between area of bystanders is kind of the sweet spot and then talking to catcallers can be really difficult and really kind of like dehumanizing, right? Cause I think they continue to see women and girls as objects.

Kathryn: What you said about the burden being on the victim/ survivors' shoulders is something you see in gender-based violence work so often, I'm preaching about gender-based violence all the time as a survivor of it. And you never see kind of allies or the perpetrators of violence or street harassment or whatever it is, step up and transform themselves to become someone who stops it rather than perpetuates it.

Sophie: Definitely.

Kathryn: So, if you haven't talked to them this question is interesting, but do you think catcallers also commit other offenses? For example, some catcalls are very, very sexualized and as you said, pointed at very young girls. Are these catcallers likely to actually commit the offenses that they say out loud?

Sophie: Yeah. And I wish I knew the answer to this question. I mean, in general, I don't know many statistics about that. I don't think there are necessarily statistics available about that because so few people actually report catcalling and street harassment. But in terms of catcalling escalating to more dangerous behavior like assault and physical behavior, I do know it happens pretty quickly, pretty frequently that maybe a woman gets catcalled and then doesn't respond and then the catcaller starts following her or slaps her ass or grabs her. So I do know that it's not infrequent that catcalling can turn from verbal behavior to physical behavior. I don't know how many catcallers are like acting out these fantasies that they put on young girls in public space. I just don't know the answer to that. I guess the thing about verbal harassment is they do know they can get away with it. So I think part of why catcallers catcall is because they know there probably will be no consequences to them shouting this at a young girl in public space. They know they're in the position of power in that situation. And maybe if they were to take it a step further and actually do something, they could actually get in trouble for it. So I do think catcallers are cowards in that way and just want to say something without consequence.

Kathryn: I agree that desire to not be held accountable for your actions is why a lot of people perpetuate violence right? In the rape culture that we live in today less than 1% of police reports and in convictions and it's even worse for gender-based violence. And so even if you do report, the chances of that person being held accountable are so slim. And I think that's why people don't report sexual harassment or street harassment is because there are no consequences for it, it's not illegal. Like we just published a piece of blog post all about street harassment and catcalling. We looked into the laws and the legality around it. And you know, there are harassment laws, right? You can't harass someone, but going and reporting a catcaller to the police, I can only imagine what the police's reaction would be to that situation.

Sophie: Yeah. It would probably be a similar reaction to the woman you were talking about that this is part of the New York culture.

Kathryn: But you mentioned earlier that catcallers' beliefs are kind of these deep seated beliefs in objectifying women. So if they have those deep beliefs, right? That women are objects and I have the right to sexualize them, it makes me think— right, again, I don't have proof of this— but if they think so poorly of women, it's likely that those beliefs are coming out in their relationships with women, not just in street harassment ways. So while I can't say we know that they commit other offenses, we do know that people who have these types of beliefs about women tend to objectify them in the workplace, in their relationships, with their own families, et cetera. So I don't think it's black and white.

Sophie: Yeah, no, I agree. And I don't think it's a far stretch either to think that a man has catcalling and believes that girls and women are asking for it would be an offender in other ways. I definitely agree with you.

Kathryn: So we went chalking a few months back, maybe even, I don't know I lose track of time maybe even a year ago who knows time flies, but I felt very nervous or I don't know if the word is uncomfortable because I was afraid of people coming up to us and like harassing us about what we were doing. we were just chalking domestic violence, statistics and headlines, not actual catcalls, but there was a crowd gathered around us at different times a few folks, and they would make comments, et cetera. So how do you deal with the folks, the naysayers that you mentioned earlier of men coming up to you and objectifying you or saying, "it's just part of the culture". I know you get a lot of, "we shouldn't have to see this" comments when you're out chalking these catcalls. So what do you say to them? Or what's that experience?

Sophie: Yeah, it's a wild time chalking for sure. I've been doing it for five and a half years and it never ceases to surprise me just the different reactions that happen in public space when we're chalking. But yeah, like you said, a lot of people are really upset by how vulgar these words are. I guess, for the most part, it's people who don't face street harassment, who are just shocked that I would be writing this or that one of the catcalls team members would be writing this on the street because it's so extremely vulgar. And I just am always struck by the irony of that, because I'll explain it to them. This was said to someone and we're writing it to draw attention to it. We're just delivering the message, but this was already said in public space, we're not creating this message and just putting it out there. This was being said all the time. So let's take the time now to focus on it and focus more on the solution rather than kind of continuing to censor and silence these stories. So I think it actually creates space when people are naysayers, when people want to be upset by the messages. I actually think it creates space for hopefully them to think a little bit about that irony or at least if not them, at least others to think about that irony of people not wanting to hear these stories. People don't want to have to listen to stories of gender-based violence of sexual harassment. They would rather that they remain hidden and I think that says a lot about the culture that we're living in. A lot of these stories continue to be censored and silenced and pushed down because people don't want to talk about it, people don't want to hear about it. So I really liked when people, kind of pushed back against it because it shows that we're doing something important. We're challenging people to be forced to see these things and talk about these things. It can get frustrating. It can get discouraging when so many people are upset by the messages or if the chalkers in New York get harassed. I know I've been hit on in public space when I'm chalking about catcalling. That type of thing can feel really discouraging because even as we're raising awareness about this problem, we're still stuck within the reality of the fact that as girls, women and non binary folks in public space, we're still facing the sexual harassment that we're chalking about. So it can be frustrating, but for the most part, I think it creates room for more conversation about the culture that we're living in and how people handle sexual harassment and gender based violence.

Kathryn: 100%. I think we need to see these things. We need to make them more transparent and in the open, rather than like you said, just hiding them and stuffing them under the rug, pretending that these things don't exist, essentially.

Sophie: Yeah, definitely. I mean, and the most extreme situations that have happened when we're talking- one of our members was arrested.

Kathryn: I was just about to say some folks in the community have even been arrested.

Sophie: Exactly. Just for chalking a story of harassment, a police officer had our chalk washed away. It's just really interesting to watch how committed people are to really erasing and hiding these stories.

Kathryn: Exactly. I think it's a cultural thing of not wanting to bring this light to problems just in general. I think that especially the U.S., we just want to have the appearance that everything is fantastic and we're the best country in the world. And these things don't happen here, you know?

Sophie: Right, and that allows them to continue to happen because then there's no accountability.

Kathryn: Exactly, exactly. And if you see someone being catcalled and this was something we saw in our research, should you intervene? As you mentioned, allies should call out their friends' behaviors, right? But they have that established relationship with that person. So they have the ability to create some accountability in that relationship. But, if you just see it on the street, what should you do?

Sophie: I always send people to Hollaback's website because they have really great bystander intervention trainings that are very specific. They have different methods that people can use to intervene because I do think it's very hard to intervene. So it's nice to have options. Not everyone is going to feel comfortable yelling at a catcaller. I know I'm not going to feel comfortable yelling at a catcaller because then I could be putting myself at risk. So some of the options for Hollaback is to document what happened. So maybe if the victim or survivor feels comfortable, taking a video and documenting it in that way, or one of the other options is distract. So do something to distract from the situation, maybe step between the person being harassed and the harasser, get someone else involved. So there are all of these options. And I really like Hollaback. It's a five D method and it works really well. I think because a lot of people don't feel comfortable intervening at all, but when they have that menu of options on ways to intervene, it really works well.

Kathryn: Yeah. I've definitely intervened in my fair share of just gender-based violence experiences in general. Whether I've seen women being shoved and screamed at in public, I've seen a woman running away from a man saying he just sexually assaulted her and intervene. And my mom actually says that that's probably how I'll die, intervening in one of these dangerous situations. And I've told tacklers "fuck off" and "who do you think you are", et cetera. And it's definitely not the safest thing to do. And sometimes I'm like, "dang, I kind of..."— not regret it, but I see how it could easily escalate into putting myself in danger, in harm's way.

Sophie: Yeah, no, that's super brave. I definitely know that I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that, but I think you doing that could be really powerful because if other people see that you're responding in that way and that you're actually telling the catcaller to fuck off, or yelling at the man who was running after the woman, I think stuff like that can make a really big difference and if we kind of get people on board doing that, then it could make catcalling and gender-based violence, less acceptable in general. But, it's just a matter of balancing that with your own safety. It's tricky.

Kathryn: It's very, very tricky. And I think it also comes with a level of privilege. I feel like I can do— like the situations I've intervened in physically and said something or got in between people, et cetera. I felt like I had the privilege to do that, right? I don't know if another person could do that. But, simultaneously I'm reflecting now on sometimes I have intervened and I always do this countdown, right? I'm always like, "okay, is anyone going to do anything"? And then I kind of count down either from 10 or 5, depending on how serious the situation is. And at zero I'm like, "well, fuck it. I guess I'm the person who has to step in here", but you'll often see men watching these experiences happen on the street and not intervening when they have the most privileged to step in and stop the situation.

Sophie: Yeah. No, I think that's so key. Assessing how much privilege you have in comparison to others in this situation and then stepping in based on that. So I agree. That's what's so frustrating. I think so many men don't step in when they see fellow men harassing someone on the street. So I think that's a really good point and I hope that our initiative can help people understand that they have a privilege and a responsibility to step in and to look out for others who are facing this behavior.

Kathryn: That word "responsibility", I think is just so huge because it's not just you, your actions like, "oh, I'm not a catcaller", so I don't have to deal with this. But it's no, we are responsible to our communities and you have the responsibility to make your community safer and calling out this behavior can definitely make your community safer.

Sophie: Definitely. So it's like you have the responsibility, but also your actions could have a big impact too. So you have that responsibility, but then also it's such a positive and a great thing that your actions could actually make such a big impact both in the person who's being catcalled— their life— but also just the community at large.

Kathryn: Yeah, like you mentioned the individual. I am sure that the folks that I've intervened in those experiences have felt like, "wow, someone cared enough to actually step up and say something". Or like I had a woman one time, I was walking downstairs from my apartment just to get my morning cup of coffee and there is just an incident of gender-based violence, screaming and shoving, and starting to get even more physically violence and a group of men around them. And I did my little count down, and then I said something, and it gave her the opportunity to run. She just took off because I was able to distract him and she escaped. And obviously I don't know what happened to her after that experience, but just giving someone that chance to say, "hey, I'm going to put myself in the middle of this to help you", whether that's in the moment or them reflecting on the incident saying, "wow, someone in my community cared".

Sophie: Yeah, yeah. It makes such a big, big impact. I'm thinking about, all of the times that I've been riding my bike around New York City and a few times I've fallen off my bike and people immediately come to me. They're like, "are you okay?", "how are you doing?" and it makes such a big difference because it means people are looking out for you and they care about your safety. So we should translate that into instances of gender-based violence like you're doing, because I think it is within us. It is within our instinct to want to keep people safe and want to keep our community safe. But because of this culture of silence around gender-based violence and sexual harassment, it doesn't often translate into that.

Kathryn: And I love that you made the analogy of falling off your bike because I think when people define safety, they only think about physical safety. Do I have cuts on my body? Am I physically bleeding right now? But we define safety as mental, digital and physical safety. You have to be— are you okay mentally? Are you safe digitally, right? Because so much of our lives online are digital nowadays. And then are you physically safe? But if we only focus on physical safety, we're not going to progress societally.

Sophie: Yeah, definitely. It's a very overly simplistic way to focus on safety as just the physical. So I liked that three-pronged definition.

Kathryn: So where do we go from here? How do we actually start to solve the problem of street harassment?

Sophie: So one of the most rewarding things that I do is talk to students and I think that's really one of the main solutions, at least within Chalk Back that we're focused on. Talking to middle school and high school students about the problem of street harassment and kind of catching them while they're still learning about gender norms and maybe starting to participate in these harmful gender norms and actually educating them to make that shift and make that change while they're still young. So when I go into schools and talk to middle school students, I already hear from girls who are being catcalled in the streets and who are already starting to think that it's a normal part of living in New York. So for me to be able to tell them that no, you're uncomfortable for a reason, this is not okay, this is not normal, makes a huge difference in their ability to fight back and change the culture. And then also on the flip side for male peers to be learning about what's going on to people in their class already at such a young age, creates a group of active allies, and then also hopefully educates them about not participating in it in the future because they're learning that it's wrong from such a young age. So that's kind of, I think at least for Chalk Back, that's one of the main focuses: education for younger people around this issue to change the future. Obviously continuing with our awareness campaigns and getting the word out as much as possible, because I see that that has a similar impact for victims and survivors of harassment and gender based violence, knowing that you're not alone, knowing that there's a community of support is really central and really important for continuing the fight and continuing to fight back against it. And then, stuff that I'm less confident about, but policy change and using these awareness campaigns to actually create policies that could protect people facing street harassment and create safer communities. But that's less my expertise.

Kathryn: Well, it's a difference of prevention versus reaction and I love that you're focused on prevention by talking with very young people who are starting to experience this or have already started to normalize just gender norms in general. The whole, "oh, if he picks on you or teases you, he likes you" mentality, even that starts at a young age. Yeah. So I obviously here at Garbo, we are very, very focused on prevention. I think policy change and the penal system in general, it's a stick that doesn't work. I can try and beat you with this stick to get you to solve your inner problems. But that takes a lot of work on the offender and they often are not willing to do the work to actually reform their behavior.

Sophie: Right, definitely, yeah. And then, I guess my hope then is through education, we can create a younger generation who doesn't have to do that work because it'll already be ingrained in them. But, I do think it's the question of in the meantime, what do we do with all of these catcallers?

Kathryn: I guess we just hope that they eventually die. That there is this new generation that comes that is more conscious of gender norms, more conscious of the experiences of folks who don't look like them or folks who don't have as much privilege as them. And they start to reflect on their own privilege and again, their own responsibility to their communities to make them safer.

Sophie: Yeah, definitely. And hopefully that'll trickle up to the older generation somehow and the more there's pushback from the younger generation, maybe slowly but surely the older generation will be forced to catch up because I don't think they're going to really necessarily do it on their own volition, catcallers specifically. But maybe if there's a lot of cultural push towards something, they'll just be forced to catch on a little bit.

Kathryn: It's like when you said earlier that your dad did say, "wear different clothes" and now he's apologized.

Sophie: Exactly, yeah. I've definitely taught him a lot. So I think that can happen from children to their parents. I think that can definitely have an impact.

Kathryn: Yeah. The kids are all right, as they say. Well, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom on this really important topic that is not often discussed and is often the first experience that young girls face with gender-based violence. So just thank you for your work and this conversation.

Sophie: Yeah, of course. Thanks so much for having me and yeah, I hope that, we can work together again.

Kathryn: Reckoning is a podcast produced by Garbo, a tech non-profit building a new kind of online background check. Our executive producer is Imani Nichols with whisper and mutter. Please subscribe to the show via your favorite podcast app. And as always, please send your questions and comments to

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