I’ve always felt disgusted when men fluit at women.
And over the years, my disgust has only grown to the point where it actually just exploded last week.
I was walking in town when a delivery van with three guys inside passed by a woman minding her own business.
One of the guys casually did a Cape Flats whistle, before making a comment in her direction.
I know I’m supposed to be OK with it, because I grew up with it, but I’m really not.
It has never occurred to me to make any sort of random remark in a strange woman’s direction, while passing her on the street.
Generally I wouldn’t say anything, but last week was also the week in which I heard of some terrible statistics of the number of women murdered in Gauteng.
More than 60 women killed in as many days.
And that’s just in one province.
It is the kind of figure that should spur us all into action on all fronts.
It’s a lot to digest during Child Protection Week, so soon after the gruesome murder of Courtney Pieters, the rape and murder of Stellenbosch student Hannah Cornelius and as details of deaths unfold in court.
While reports of murdered and abused women keep coming, this also happened at a time when the first woman in the country’s history was appointed to head up the Supreme Court of Appeals.
Having a woman that high up in the judiciary is sure to make a difference in the way women are treated.
But I believe the biggest difference will still be made by us men. It is our responsibility to teach our boys and our buddies that this is not OK.
We must make it our duty to tackle other men who overstep the boundaries of what is socially acceptable these days.
So, yes, I actually made a comment in the van’s direction about having some respect for women and having some self-respect.
But then I did something I had never actually thought of doing before.
I ran after the lady in question and apologised. I told her that I don’t know the guy who just did that, but that I wanted to apologise on his behalf anyway.
She looked very confused, as she hadn’t paid attention to the man’s chauvinistic behaviour.
This sort of thing obviously happens so often, that women just learned to ignore it.
Are there even any women out there who respond to this sort of caveman mentality? Was there ever a time when women did?
I just cannot imagine a time of a guy doing this to a stranger and her swooning and falling over herself to throw herself at him!
Some people may say that there’s a massive difference between taking a woman’s life and loudly appreciating her in the street.
Yes, of course, there’s a practical difference. But it’s the psychological shift that I’m concerned about.
Big changes come from small acts of mindfulness.
If we speak to other guys about it and make them aware of it, then they may just stop doing it and spread the word.
Disrespecting a woman by making a derogatory comment in her direction, makes me wonder what you would do if you come across that woman alone at night.
How far will that disrespect go then, when nobody’s watching?
Should we not be working towards a country where women can walk around freely at any time of the day or night, wearing what they like, without being leered at and fearing for their safety?
Of course women are exceptional and lovely to admire and appreciate.
But guys, try this: admire and appreciate silently and from a distance.
If you are really interested enough, then grow some balls, walk over, introduce yourself and strike up a conversation.
If she’s interested, then good for you.
If not, then at least you have shown her the respect she deserves; the same respect you would like other men to show your wife, mother, sister, or wife.
But cat calling in the streets, is one step short of physically forcing yourself on her.
Or have I got the wrong end of the stick here? I would love to hear from the ladies about this.