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This might sound weird to admit, but I’ve always loved walking. Something about romanticizing my simple mundane walks to school or to go get coffee, whatever it is, makes me excited for the day and gives me some much-needed time for myself.

I think all of us can agree on how therapeutic it is to just spend some time in your thoughts outside in nature. I have also recently been using daily walks as a way to manifest and tell myself positive affirmations and I’ve honestly noticed a huge difference in my mental health.

However, for the literal entirety of my life, there have been notable drawbacks to these walks. Whether I am walking to class, to my barista job or whatever the case may be, aside from the insane Florida heat, the most unpleasant thing I encounter when I go on walks is getting catcalled by men. Every. Day.

Whether it be by men in cars driving by rolling down their windows and shouting at me, honking their horns or men on the sidewalks staring at me uncomfortably long and physically approaching me. Something that I want to do for myself as a part of my self-care routine to gain a sense of peace is now tainted by the inability of certain men to control themselves. It gives me anxiety because you never know to what extent a situation could arise, and I know that this fear is a universal experience for all women.

I was inspired to write this after our first day back to school in person. After moving into my new off-campus apartment that is a short five minute walk from school, I decided that I would walk to class every day as it’s such a short distance. I started the day off excited to be back on campus and motivated to start a new year and ended the day in a completely different mood. In total, in my trips to and from school, I was harassed on the streets a total of five times. On my way home, three men rolled their windows down in an attempt to speak to me. It’s not a compliment and it’s not flattering. This isn’t self-victimization or me seeking attention, I’m just tired. I want to be able to go on walks, runs or do anything without this happening. I want the same for all women everywhere. I want to be able to exist without feeling scared.

I have no choice but to walk to school, thus I have no choice but to deal with this. But even with a car and not having to walk to class, where will the harassment move to next? Women deal with this all over the world every day everywhere, not just when walking on the sidewalks. We are tired and we just want to exist without being bothered. Do better. Stop catcalling us. Be a man.

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Em is a junior from Miami double majoring in psychology and English: editing, writing, & media. Writing, fashion, and astrology are some of her interests and she hopes to pursue a degree in fashion ujournalism.
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