For many women, harassment and catcalling is so entrenched in their daily lives, it has become the norm.
Besides, its hard to muster up the energy to fight every time you’re asked to “gizza smile, love!”, you are wolf-whistled, followed down the street or assaulted on public transport because it happens so often.
Not only is this threatening behaviour sexist, domineering and uncomfortable, but its also unacceptable. Eliza Hatch, a 22-year-old photojournalist, aims to remind women just how serious harassment is by encouraging them to share their stories via a clever new Instagram project called ‘Cheer Up Luv’.
“When I was about 13, I was taking the train in the middle of the day. A drunk guy got on and was shouting about bitches up and down the carriage. He came, sat next to me, touched my leg and asked me why I was no fun, about an inch from my face. Everyone was watching but no one said anything.” – Lulu🌾
Hatch finds women wherever they are that have an unpleasant run-in to share, takes a photograph of them, and interviews them about the experience.
Each story, written in the first person, is like a clap back unto itself. The incidents range from creepy comments to, in some case, prosecutable action. The project gives women a chance to unload that misogyny, rather than carry it with them, whether or not they felt safe enough to challenge their harassers at the time.
“If we keep speaking up about the issue, then yes [change is possible],” she told Elle.
“The more attention it gets the better, and if we begin to teach that all forms of harassment are unacceptable at a young age, to boys, then we are influencing change.”
” I was sat at a bus stop on my own until a suited man walked over and started man walked over and started talking to me. He stood infront of me, told me he liked my hair, then called me beautiful and forced his lips close to mine, for a second I froze then I pushed him away. I saw my bus and got on, he followed me onto the bus, sat next to me and tried to run his hand up my skirt. I screamed and told him to fuck off, nobody believed I was in danger. ” -Reannon🐞
‘Cheer Up Luv’ has quickly become a popular site, with women from “all over the world” getting in touch with Eliza to ask if they too can share their stories.
Got an incident you’d like to get off your chest? Email Cheer Up Luv here.
“I just moved to New York and one day I decided to go downtown. I sat down on the train and one guy got on and stood right in front of me holding onto the rail. I turned my face and body to the right instead of his body in front of me. Then, I see a weird movement happening to my left, in the corner of my eye. It ended up being his penis sticking out of his zipper of his pants and he was rubbing it. I quickly turned my eyes back. I just thought it was sick that he even thought to do that right in front of my face. I am a short girl so anyone that stands in front of me I am eye level to that part of the body. There were tons of seats open and he still chose to stand in front of me. So I quickly just thought to get off at the next stop. I didn’t really know what to do. It was a weird experience.” – Gina🌺
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