I remember one of the first times I was catcalled. I was walking down my street, which is a main road, towards our local sports centre. I was nearly 15 years old. Some guys in a car drove past and yelled “you’re looking hot today!”.

Fast forward to when i was 16, and i was walking to meet a friend. I passed a 50 something year old man who was sitting in a bus shelter and he looked at me very creepily and said “hello gorgeous!”.

Fast forward again to when I was 18 and I was walking and talking and laughing with my 3 best girlfriends. We were walking fast so we didn’t miss our train which was in 2 minutes. We passed 2 older men in tradie uniforms, and when we walked passed them, they said “at least say hello ladies!”.

I’ve been spoken to and yelled at by men inappropriately so many times that I’ve lost count, and because it has always seemed like the ‘norm’, I don’t remember half of them.

But every single time a man decides to make comment about my body as if I am an object and not a person, I get the same feeling of disgust, terror and shame, I go red in the face, I feel tears in my eyes, i can’t make eye contact with passer-bys and I feel very, very unsafe, and not in control of my own body.

The thing is about catcalling, it makes you feel out of control and out of possession of your own body. People who catcall women treat them like objects, whose body is for them to look at, comment on, drool over, talk to their mates about. It makes me feel ashamed of my own body. When I get dressed every morning, the unwanted thoughts of “but is this too revealing? will it attract cat callers? maybe I shouldn’t wear it just in case I get harrassed…” cross my mind. I wish men understood this. Catcalling is NOT ok and has to stop now.