I originally planned to write a regular month-ender, but then, last night, I came across this post on Facebook by a woman who got catcalled while wearing a non-revealing outfit.
The post reminded me of all the times I’ve been catcalled. She is right. Probably every woman has experienced getting catcalled. I’m not even that pretty but I regularly get catcalled because, I don’t know, a man’s ego needed some stroking?
I don’t remember the first time I found myself in that fearful, anxious, and panic-inducing situation. But I do remember learning to “tough it out” early. As long as they were not really intending harm (at least in the perspective of the general public), I learned to just ignore the catcalls for fear of being branded a crybaby.
Why a crybaby? Because when I was in 4th grade, I was (for the lack of a better term) harassed daily by my classmate who had a crush on me. I finally broke down one day and told my brother who was in high school then about it. He spoke to my classmate and warned him to never go near me again. Sure, the chasing and cornering (I remember getting cornered in the backstage of our school where there were no other people) stopped, but then I was branded a crybaby.
And yes, I realise he was just 9-10 years old, but I was also just 9 years old and the fear I felt was real. I could still feel it now. I realise he might have already forgotten all about it, but I haven’t.
So when I was growing up, each time a tricycle driver called me pretty, or a co-passenger in the jeepney rubbed elbows and legs with me, or just got too close for comfort, I learned to take a deep breath and tough it out.