The other night, I was walking downtown when I stumbled on the remnants of an earlier street protest against sexualized violence. The fact that this protest included transgender women is what originally pulled me in. The protest was called ‘Cats Glare Back’ and it was all about standing up against aggressors and not allowing predators to view you as a potential victim. The general concept is if we show that we are not easy targets, it will make it more difficult for predators. It will show them that we are not just going to allow their behaviors to persist any further. In fact, they may think twice because cats do, after all, have claws.
Since I transitioned, I have never been the victim of violence because, for the most part, this is already the attitude I carry with me. Predators will almost always look for the easy victim and if you are not that easy victim they will often leave you be while they wait for an easier target. Attitude is a huge part of it. When I am out, I present confidence as well as a good dose of boldness. If I see someone look at me in an uncomfortable way, you can be sure they will get a glare that tells them not to mess with me. It honestly does work.
Other tips I use when I am out at night include never looking lost. Even if I am lost, I will check my GPS while making it look like I am texting. If I see a group of people who seem seedy, I will pretend to talk into my phone because most attacks are unlikely when you are talking on the phone because the other person can get help to you pretty fast. If none of my normal tactics are working, there is nothing wrong in getting out of there, go into a store or anyplace where there are people. If there is no place safe and you are sure a situation is developing, there is nothing wrong with fleeing. I am not going to dwell on what to do so much in an attack as the focus of this article is prevention.
Another focus of the protest was to promote awareness that catcalls are a form of sexual harassment that women often have to endure and really shouldn’t have to. Catcalls can often escalate if the woman in question is transgender and in some cases, lead to violence. If the person doing the catcall realizes they are dealing with a transgender women the violence, if it escalates, can go to unspeakable levels. Catcalls, themselves are very much a good dose of harassment disguised as a compliment. They are unwelcome by most and with education will hopefully become a thing of the past. With a good old cat glare we can begin to take back the night.