Stephens College students uses social media to stop street harassment

Mackenzie Moore, 23News reporter

On the sidewalk outside of Seoul Taco, the words “Imma take you home with me,” are written in chalk. These words were said to a group of girls walking back to campus. The students DMed Stephens College student Kira McKee, who runs the Catcallsofcomo Instagram account.

McKee started the Instagram account for the Stephens Life Magazine on her campus. She got the idea from another college student in New York who started the page catcallsofnyc. McKee then discovered other accounts like these from all around the world, including places like, Seattle, London and even India.

Mckee noticed that there wasn’t an account in Missouri. She pitched the idea to her class and posted posters around Columbia for people to send in their stories.

“I’m glad I started this one because there’s not one for Kansas City or St. Louis yet, and I thought it was just a good place to start it since it is a college town,” McKee said.

People can DM the account sharing their experience with being catcalled. McKee will then go to the place where the incident occured and write it down on the sidewalk in brightly colored chalk.

Some of the stories that have been sent in have really shocked McKee. In one experience, a girl was walking outside of Hotbox Cookies when a man grabbed her inappropriately. When she asked the guy why he thought he could do that he replied with, “because I can.”

In another experience a girl walked by a homeless man and smiled, to which he then called out to her saying, “you look sexy.”

“She just smiled at him and that was super annoying,” McKee said. “She’s like ‘my kindness was met with harassment’ and it was super powerful for her to say that.”

McKee wants people to realize how often catcalling occurs. She hopes that by running this account, people will realize it’s more commonplace than previously thought.

“It’s good to have people actually see how often this happens, especially in downtown Columbia,” McKee said. “It makes people fearful of walking around by themselves and that’s a really big problem right now in America.”

McKee hopes that people will start to take action against street harassment.

“I feel like just having someone be there with the person that got catcalled like would make the situation better for them,” McKee said.

Whether that’s making sure the victim is okay or telling the catcaller that their behavior isn’t appropriate, McKee encourages others to step in when they see someone getting catcalled.
To learn more about the movement or submit a story, check out the Instagram page @catcallsofcomo.

“The account is definitely for awareness,” McKee said. “Give it a follow, give it a like and send in stories. It’s really important for it to keep going.”

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