I was recently part of an online discussion in the Merritt Grapevine on Facebook, regarding the subject of cat-calling.

It was eye-opening! For one thing, I learned that my wife experiences it “all the time.” It doesn’t happen when we’re together, but I guess that’s the point. Harassment typically targets women walking alone.

The discussion started with a woman who was told “I like the way you walk.” Another commenter in the discussion was subject to the same comment. Others had other, equally unacceptable experiences.

 We, as a society, need to acknowledge that street harassment is not a compliment, a minor annoyance, or the harassed person’s fault. It is bullying and it is harmful.

For my part, I have posted flyers from stopstreetharassment.org in my shop window, and have started asking neighboring businesses to do the same.

This is a global problem, but one that I believe can be solved, or at least improved, at a local level. The following are six things men can do to stop street harassment. More information and ways you can help are available at stopstreetharassment.org.

1. Know what it is

Street harassment is unwanted and unwelcome public attention, most often direct at women, which demeaning and damaging. It’s not a private matter but one that concerns us all.

2. Be a male ally

Don’t walk on by. You can help play an important role in addressing and stopping street harassment.

3. Lead by example

It starts with you. Question your own language, attitudes and behaviours and how they may disrespect or harm women and girls.

4. Be a role model

Talk to your family, friends and co-workers and the young people around you about treating women with dignity and respect.

5. Challenge language and behaviour

Demeaning and offensive jokes, comments, and behaviour can be challenged. Don’t participate or laugh along. Help hold men accountable.

6. Act accordingly

Assess the risk, and challenge the behaviour in a way that will help defuse the situation safely. If you need to, ask for help. Check with the victim and offer support. Tell her you don’t support what happened; ask her if she is okay; tell her that men don’t have a right to treat women that way. 

Travis Fehr


Through discussions with friends growing up, I was always shocked to hear how young some women are when they first experience street harassment. It is unacceptable at any age, but it is especially galling to hear that pre-teen girls are subject to cat-calls. – Editor