By Shea Hubbs
Walking to a car, getting to class, going to a dorm room, buying groceries, working out, or even just going to the Kwik Shop. These are normal activities that people do everyday. Things that they should feel safe doing. But sadly that isn’t the case for women.
The Collegian had heard stories from several Hutchinson Community College women about being verbally harassed – or catcalled – on and around campus. Thus, The Collegian recently asked HutchCC students to share their catcalling stories, and here’s a sampling of their answers.
“Hey baby, your a– is getting fat.”
“Lemme get your Snapchat.”
“Damn I haven’t had p—- in a while, you wanna help me fix that.”
are just some of the things said to women.
Who mostly catcalls on campus? When The Collegian asked a group of softball players, they all had a common answer – football players.
The women that live in the dorms have even made a name for these guys.
“They sit in the lobby and wait for us to walk out so they can yell at us.” Alexis Way, a Wichita freshman said. “We call them the ‘Lobby Boys’. There will be 20 in the lobby, commenting on my butt or something else about my body.”
Some softball players even said these ‘Lobby Boys’ follow women who don’t engage their advances.
What happens when these acts get reported? Most of the time, women are told to ignore it. Ignore the blatant harassment, and maybe you’ll be OK.
But what happens if you try ignoring the comments, but they keep persisting. They start following you, and you keep ignoring it. They’re behind you as you go into your dorm and now they know where you sleep.
“They don’t take no for an answer,” said HutchCC softball player Brooklyn Johnson, an Andover sophomore. “Someone on my team last year, they came forward and they said something, and it’s kind of like the mentality of ‘boys will be boys,’ but at the end of the day, we pay them to protect us and I don’t think they’re doing their job.”
This isn’t just a HutchCC campus problem though.
Walmart, Kwik Shop and Papa John’s are just a few other places that women get catcalled. Men old enough to be fathers to these young women sometimes catcall, and not in nice ways.
It doesn’t even have to be words. Being stared or gawked at is common.
Many women are afraid to do simple things in fear of being verbally harassed or worse. A new study done by “Stop Street Harassment” shows that 77% of women are verbally harassed, and 51% say they’ve been unwittingly touched sexually.
For the women on campus, fear of being catcalled or harassed is an everyday occurrence. Not feeling safe is the new normal for many women.
This isn’t to say all men catcall, or that the college and local businesses are at fault, but this isn’t fair to women, especially ones who come forward and report catcalling and similar harassment.
“I don’t think that it’s healthy that we’re trying to fix the problem by avoiding the issue,” Johnson said.