Target: Khadija Arib, Speaker of the House, Netherlands
Goal: Protect women from catcalling and harassment.
Catcalling in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, has been upheld by courts due to freedom of speech rules that argue that men should be allowed to express themselves, no matter the consequences or fear their words instill. This ruling presents a serious danger to the mental and physical well-being of women in Rotterdam and around the world. Demand a change.
In 2017, Rotterdam’s council outlawed catcalling due to an influx of street harassment in the city. However, the city’s law was overturned by the courts in an appeal case led by one man who said his catcalling and lewd gestures are protected speech and expression. The court sided with the man, arguing that his verbal behavior cannot be associated with any physical actions. In other words, his words did not cause harm to women.
Make this argument to the over 90 percent of women who regularly experience catcalling and the violent, angry remarks that follow when advances aren’t reciprocated. As seen in many cases, these words lead to violence. Free speech ends when another individual is threatened. Demand the federal government step in to protect women.
Dear Speaker Arib,
Women in your nation are far too often the victims of catcalling and sexual harassment. A law in Rotterdam sought to protect these women and outlaw catcalling and lewd gestures. However, a court overturned that law, arguing that men’s words cannot be associated with any violence that may occur.
The court has failed the women of Rotterdam and the Netherlands. I ask that you make it the goal of the federal government to put together legislation that will help protect women from harmful words that could very well turn into violent actions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Karla Cote