This Artist Is Using Sidewalk Chalk To Combat Sexual Harassment

Many women know the harrowing realities of getting sexually harassed by complete strangers. Living in New York City, it’s a regular occurrence for many. As someone who has lived in NYC for 25 years, I can attest to this uncomfortable fact.

Artist Sophie Sandberg is also from New York City, and, recalls that she was sexually harassed for the first time at only 15-years-old. Now, 21-years-old and a student at New York University, Sandberg is taking her personal experiences, and the experiences of others, to make a bold and colorful statement.

"Downtown near the west village a man called out 'HEY. I can get you pregnant for 20 dollars!'" – @dana.couto … Just what every woman wants to hear ! #stopstreetharassment

A post shared by @ catcallsofnyc on

Sandberg created the project “Catcalls of NYC,” which uses sidewalk chalk to paint the vivid and traumatizing words women have heard while walking down the streets of New York. Sandberg puts a call out to her followers to share their stories with her, asking where they’ve heard the statements and how it’s made them feel. In many situations, Sandberg revisits the exact spot where the harassment took place.

Sandberg told The Huffington Post:

“By writing the comments on the sidewalk where they happened, I raise public awareness about the issue. The colorful chalk and colorful words catch people’s eyes. They force those who wouldn’t normally experience catcalling to take a second look.”

Street harassment is something that many women face, with 65% of women in the United States reporting they have experienced it themselves. 

You can see more of Sandberg’s project on Instagram @catcallsofnyc.