Whether offensive in nature or just downright annoying, cat calls are a mainstay in most women’s lives. I’ve been experiencing them, pretty much on a regular basis, since I was ten years old.
Fed up, the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children, a Toronto-based nonprofit, turned to technology to build up a defense. They developed the iPhone-friendly app, “Not Your Baby,” to suggest quick comebacks to victims on the spot.
The user first selects who is doing the harassing—family member, stranger, co-worker?—then the scenario in which it occurs—street, school, subway?—and then the app recommends a response: “Would you speak to your sister that way?”
The app has its detractors. Some think it’s best to walk away from sexual harassment situations instead of engaging in conversation.
I’ve already come up with a surefire response (I ignore rude catcalls and turn down requests for my number with “I’m married.” The “M” word scares most men off). And I don’t think women will fumble with their iPhone while dealing with a cat call from a stranger or in more personal instances of sexual harassment. But I do appreciate that the app gets people talking about the prevalence of sexual harassment and cat-calling.