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'No catcalling' signs appear on streets of New York and Philadelphia

Activists say that over fifty signs have been posted around New York and O

Jamie Campbell
Friday 17 April 2015 14:20 BST

At a first, passing glance, they look like any other parking restriction notice, but look again and you'll see these signs put up in New York and Philadelphia are calling for an end to a street behaviour that's even more unacceptable than waiting in a loading bay.

The 'no catcalling' signs, aiming to end the scourge of street harassment, have been put up by campaigners amid international studies finding that between 70 and 99 per cent of women will face unwelcome advances in public at some point in their lives.

Activists from the non-profit organisation Feminist Apparel have reportedly posted more than fifty signs around the cities that tie in with Anti-Street Harassment Week.

Messages on the signs include: “NO CATCALLING ANYTIME” and “NO CATCALL ZONE.”

Alan Martofel, founder of Feminist Apparel, which is best known for its online clothing website said: “Awareness-building and dialogue-creation surrounding feminist issues is at the core or our non-profit’s mission.”

Another of the Feminist Apparel signs

He told the Huffington Post that “We just thought legitimate looking anti-catcalling street signs out on the streets where street harassment occurs would be a cool, visual way to capture people’s attention towards the issue.”

Anti-street harassment group Hollaback said that the signs carried an important message.

“Street harassment is something that has been normalised over time, and when we talk about street harassment we’re talking about verbal harassment and catcalling, but also non-verbal gestures.

“The signs are a very interesting way to approach the subject, public art is really important in raising awareness,” Director Debjani Roy told ABC News.

However it is unlikely that they will become a permanent fixture.

A spokesman for the New York Department of Transportation said: “While we understand the concept of this campaign, these signs were placed without permission.

“DOT has not received any formal complaint about them but we are proceeding with their removal as we are made aware of the locations and/or come across them.”

Last year aspiring actress Shoshana Roberts was filmed walking for ten hours through New York. She was wearing a plain T-shirt, jeans and a pair of trainers. During this period she was filmed being catcalled 108 times.

Alongside the clip, posted to Youtube, Miss Roberts wrote: “This happens daily to so many people. We don’t put up with harassment at school, at home, or at work, so why should we have to put up with it on the street?”

International Anti-Street Harassment Week runs from April 12-18 and 2015 is the fifth year that the event has run. More than 110 groups in 30 countries have participated in this year’s week of events.

The website states: “Together we can let people affected by street harassment know it’s not their fault and they’re not alone. We can inform communities that this is a problem that we all need to care about and address. And we can demand change.”

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