Catcalling—also known as wolf-whistling, street harassment, sexual harassment, or verbal abuse—is a global problem deeply related to sexism, gender violence, and homophobia.
According to research from street-harassment activist group Hollaback! and Cornell University, catcalling is primarily targeted at women and perpetrated by men. A 2014 survey revealed that 71 percent of women experience street harassment for the first time between the ages of 11 and 17, and more than 50 percent of women have been fondled or groped on the street.
Street harassment is a dangerous public issue: Publicly and repeatedly objectifying women creates an unsafe environment, which can and does turn violent. It's not uncommon for women to be harassed or stalked in public by men who later commit violence against them, including rape and murder.
Because street harassment is a global problem, the way it's treated socially and legally varies across cultures. Some countries have legislation to address public verbal harassment against women, and some are working hard just to get the discussion about catcalling started.
Here are some of the ways catcalling is addressed around the world: