Our Daughter Often Gets Catcalled and My Husband Thinks It’s Great

Catcalling is an unwelcome intrusion many women face in public spaces. Our reader went for a casual evening stroll with her teenage daughter and husband. Suddenly, their peace was shattered by a group of men and their suggestive comments, disturbing the tranquility. Sadly, her husband didn't see anything wrong with it.

Our reader sent us a message.

Thank you for reaching out to us! It’s a complicated situation indeed. Perhaps these tips might help you out.

Talk to your daughter.

Your husband’s his reaction may be confusing for your daughter. Teenage girls are bombarded with messages about beauty and attention, and his dismissal might make her think the catcalling is okay. Explain to her that the guys’ behavior is unacceptable. Agree on how to handle these situations in the future, whether it’s ignoring them, walking away confidently, or a simple “leave us alone.”

Prioritize your daughter.

If your husband remains unmoved, prioritize your daughter's well-being. Discuss strategies with her on how to navigate catcalling situations independently. Consider practicing safe walking routes away from areas with such crowds. Shift the focus from "compliments" to the potential danger of these interactions. Catcalling can easily escalate.

Ask other people’s opinion.

Think about the men in your husband's life who he respects and admires. Does he have a close friend, father figure, or mentor who prioritizes respectful behavior towards women?

Encourage a conversation between them about it. Hearing a similar message from a trusted male friend might resonate more with your husband than just you. If you have male family members who understand and respect women, consider having a family discussion about catcalling.

Find common ground.

Even if you disagree on the definition of "safe behavior," you both want your daughter to feel safe and respected. Start by acknowledging this shared value.

Instead of dwelling on your differing opinions, reframe the conversation around the desired outcome. Do you both want your daughter to feel confident walking alone at night? Do you both agree she shouldn't feel harassed or disrespected in public spaces? This can help bridge the gap between your perspectives.

For our reader, running served as her daily reset button — offering fresh air, a clear mind, and an escape from drama. She navigated her neighborhood effortlessly, knowing its streets like the back of her hand. However, a peculiar comment from her neighbor about her running attire completely unsettled her. Now, she finds herself questioning whether she even wants to lace up her shoes again.

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