BAVO and Feminist United invite students to discuss catcalling culture with ‘Don’t Call Me Pumpkin’
Callie Patrick | Thursday, October 31, 2019
As Halloween approaches and the end of domestic violence month nears, the Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) hosted Don’t Call Me Pumpkin, an event co-sponsored by Feminist United that encapsulates the two. The event encouraged students to initiate discussions about catcalling while they painted pumpkins.
“Don’t Call Me Pumpkin is an event where everyone can come in and have a conversation about catcalling,” senior Anne Nowalk, treasurer for Feminist United, said. “That is something that is so important, especially around Halloween when people are wearing costumes. We’re able to open up a dialogue about [catcalling] before Halloween begins while doing something fun that everyone enjoys, which is painting pumpkins.”
Senior and student advisory committee (SAC) member Courtney Driscoll said Don’t Call Me Pumpkin is “an event to give awareness for catcalling, which is also known as street harassment.”
“It’s basically a place where we can come celebrate Halloween [and] paint pumpkins, but also give awareness on catcalling, what it is and ways to react to it appropriately and safely,” Driscoll said.
The event started by defining the act of catcalling. It then featured students who felt comfortable sharing their own experiences and how they personally reacted to the harassment. The discussion was followed by tips on how to react to future catcalling.
“I think an event like this promotes a safe environment to come and interact with other students while we’re promoting awareness for catcalling, sexual assault, stalking and sexual violence as a whole,” Driscoll said. “We’re doing that but also creating fun events where you can interact with other students.”
Catcalling is easy to shrug off because it’s often regarded as “something funny” or a joke, Nowalk said, when in reality it’s sexual harassment.
“Both women, men, and non-binary people do not deserve to be catcalled or objectified by what they wear, how they walk, or their appearance,” Nowalk said. “And unfortunately that’s still something that is so normalized in our society, so having this event where we’re able to have a dialogue about this is extremely important for our community.”
Nowalk said the importance of events like this for the Saint Mary’s community is not lost on her.
“I think [it] is extremely important that individuals can come here whether or not they’re involved with BAVO or involved with Feminist United because the subject is something that everyone can resonate with, whether you believe you’re a feminist or involved with BAVO,” Nowalk said. “It’s really good that the whole Saint Mary’s community can be involved and be ready to talk about these subjects.”
The issue is particularly pertinent to Saint Mary’s, Driscoll said.
“I think an event like this is important because it gives awareness to issues that we as women in an all women’s college experience and will sadly experience, if not already, in the future,” she said.
Nowalk said events such as Don’t Call Me Pumpkin start important discussions on campus.
“Events like these mean for the community that students are able to speak about things that they may have been uncomfortable talking about with others, creating a friendly atmosphere where people can feel the need to speak up when they want to, with the comfort that they have and the bravery they have,” Nowalk said.