Iowa City group calls out catcalling, street harassment

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - One Iowa City group is raising awareness around catcalling as part of International Anti-Street Harassment week. Several events including a free concert, a Chalk the Walk event, and bystander intervention training sessions are scheduled through Friday, April 15.

Street harassment is unwanted comments, gestures, and actions forced on a stranger in public without their consent.

"I think it's empowering to connect with others," said Stella Hart, an administrator with End Street Harassment Iowa City. "So many people have experienced street harassment, so to know you're not alone is good."

At a Tuesday night Chalk the Walk event, participants wrote slogans like 'Hawks don't harass' and 'Keep it cute or put it on mute' on a Linn Street sidewalk near the public library.

Additionally, organizers hung signs downtown detailing real incidents of harassment.

For Hart, each small action to raise awareness is a reminder words can easily cross a line.

"You never know what someone has been through," she said. "That can be really triggering for someone who has experienced sexual violence."

For more information on other scheduled events, check out the group's Facebook page.