About whistle

What is Whistle?

Whistle is a movement that wishes to prevent and fight Verbal Sexual Harassment/catcalling in sports. This project is funded by the European Commission and involves municipalities and associations from many countries such as Italy  (USMA, Si pùo fare, Comune di Padova), Turkey (SPELL), Bulgaria (Courage Foundation) Greece (KEAN, ELLINIKI OMOSPONDIA PETOSFAIRISIS) Poland (Fundacja Instytut Partnerstwa Strategicznego) and Spain (Actividades Alternativas).

What is Catcalling and VSH?

Catcalling is defined as a series of behaviors including whistles, gestures, comments and unwanted sexual advances, implemented to attract the attention mainly of women in the streets and other public places by strangers. Including a strong component of objectification, catcalling can be considered a form of verbal harassment, as it is an unwanted behavior with a sexual connotation that offends a person’s dignity. It is a discriminatory attitude since it is practiced mainly by men toward the female gender. These kinds of gestures, based on gender discrimination, violate the principle of equal treatment between men and women. Catcalling is a growing phenomenon that happens every day to many young women and girls and affects their lives: many start to feel uncomfortable or afraid walking down the street and wearing whatever they want, or practicing their favorite sport, to a point that can lead to sport drop-out. Catcalling can be hidden in statements that, at first glance, may seem like appreciations.

Verbal sexual Harassment in sports environments refers to repeated and continuous inappropriate behaviors of a sexual nature, including comments, touching, sending or posting photos, messages and/or requests.

All of these are a type of sexual harassment and are a violation of the victim’s civil rights.

The problem

Verbal Sexual Harassment (VSH) is a big issue for many women and girls who practice sports or exercise outdoors. Women who experience this type of harassment describe the feeling as annoying in some occasions and terrifying in others. Catcalling/Verbal Sexual Harassment can be something relatively subtle like: unwanted attention, beeping at a woman from a car, sending a kiss, winking, calling someone from the other side of the street, complementing without someone’s consent, making comments about someone’s outfit. Or it can be something much more severe such as: sexual advances from a trainer, spying or camera surveillance, sexual requests or ‘sextortion’.

These behaviors could cause trauma, phobia, dropout, and all sorts of psychological and personal problems for the victims.

Our short term purpose

Whistle wants to raise awareness by collecting stories. Telling your story will help us see the real dimension of the problem in order to show society how big this problem is. If you wish to tell us your story in an anonymous way please click here( link).

Women often try to ignore these actions, especially those who unfortunately have to deal with them very often. Whistle encourages all of these women to acknowledge the problem and talk about it, as well as ultimately report it.

Men who perform these behaviors are not always aware of how harmful they can be. Our duty is to inform these men about the consequences of their actions in order to get them to ‘walk in the victim’s shoes’ and quit the behavior in the future.

Our long term purpose

Whistle wishes for women, men, girls and boys from all around the world to do sports and exercise in a safe environment, free of any type of harassment, but especially catcalling and all sorts of sexual harassment in order to be able to enjoy  a healthy sporty life. All of society will see the advantages of this huge change as athletes will only have to care about their own performance, rates of dropout will decrease and scores will be higher. More women and girls will join sports or even just start a healthy lifestyle routine, which ultimately means a healthier population.