If you identify as female chances are you’ve experienced the joys of catcalling.
Unfortunately our Big Youth Survey in conjunction with News Corp Australia surveying over 1000 Australian youth aged 15 to 24 nationally uncovered how sexual harassment remains disturbingly prevalent amongst Gen Zs today.
We found one in three (34%) teenage girls and young women said they’ve experienced sexual harassment in the past year compared to 11% of males.
Warning: This article references experiences of sexual harassment and sexual assault that may trigger or cause distress to some readers.
A 16-year-old female from Western Australia was on her way home from TAFE when she was catcalled and followed.
“I walked faster hoping that he would stop and I could get on my bus peacefully,” she said.
“Unfortunately, he didn’t and instead proceeded to catcall and make inappropriate gestures towards me.
“Unfortunately my phone was dead and I was staying home alone so I was terrified. The man then proceeded to get on my bus with me.”
Thankfully for her a friend got on the bus a few stops later and the man following her got off the bus.
“However now when I’m heading home from places by myself I find myself incredibly cautious of my surroundings and often feel rather worried,” she said.
A 17-year-old transgender male from Victoria told us how the ‘constant’ sexual and racial harassment he experienced was so severe he was forced to change schools and jobs.
“(The harassment and catcalling) got so bad that I stopped going to work and school almost altogether until I swapped schools and workplaces,” he said.
“I consider it a success that I have found a safer environment to learn and work.”
An 18-year-old female from NSW said she’d noticed a disturbing trend.
“As I have gotten older I have been catcalled less,” she said.
“When I was around 13-15, especially in school uniform, I got catcalled so much more. I assume this is because I was less likely to fight back.
“Now I have graduated and have more choice over who I spend time with, I experience less discrimination, especially misogyny).
“While I would say my high school was progressive but the patriarchy is everywhere.”
So what are we going to do about this, Australia?
In the words of Grace Tame, 2021 Australian of the Year and author of The Ninth Life of a Diamond miner: “May these words bring you home”.