Video: Blaming Sexual Harassment |

STORY: Stop harassment. Sofia Pavlenko chalks up what happened in the middle of the street near the main train station in Munich. And that literally. With sidewalk chalk, she writes down what a young woman told her on Instagram. The 23-year-old created the Instagram page “Catcallofmuc” with two other acquaintances, the first of its kind in Germany. The concept: Anyone – mostly women – can anonymously send the operators a message if they have experienced harassment and where it happened. Sofia and other supporters write this in a slightly abbreviated form with sidewalk chalk at the scene of the crime. “That’s exactly why we have this project, to draw attention to it and to show how often this actually happens. And the people who send us the messages often write how they felt. And then you just feel what kind of suffering that entails – something like that.” Šejla Begović experienced exactly such a situation, which worries her for weeks later. In the middle of the city. With many people who noticed that. A man molested her. She doesn’t really want to talk about it – but she has to, she says, so that awareness grows. “And I think if you do something like that more often, it might lead to a few people intervening and hopefully at least someone coming up to me and saying, ‘Hey, are you okay, can I do something good for you do? Wow, how crappy for you. “But no, I have to go to work alone, make myself a coffee and pretend that nothing happened.” Esther Papp, chief inspector in the area of ​​victim protection and prevention, explains that you have to sensitize the public: “Because there are always voices when you deal with this topic that say: Oh, that’s not so bad or it’s a compliment. And of course that’s not possible. No human wants to be treated like a sex object. Everyone just wants to move freely and not be judged by others in such an absolutely lousy way.” Mirjam Spies, a trauma counselor from Frauennotruf Munich, knows what effects catcalling or sexual harassment can have: “Well, we do [Frauen] are then very busy when we leave the house, thinking: Am I contributing to the fact that I could experience violence? That means that it restricts my freedom to be myself to the point that we blame ourselves and blame ourselves. Women are withdrawing socially.” Sofia and her fellow campaigners continue to fight for catcalling and sexual harassment to receive more attention—hopefully that they will have to blame less of it in the future.


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