Ciao, bella!

I recently came across THIS ARTICLE on the BBC website about how feminist groups are trying to stop sexual harassment on the street.

What surprised me is that no mention is made of Italy, where catcalling is so common it deserves some type of UNESCO recognition. And you don’t need to experience it to know it: Even in movies like Under the Tuscan Sun or Eat, Pray, Love Italians guys are commenting on — and even following — girls on the street. And we all recognize this as an amusing characteristic of Italian (mainly Roman) behavior.

As someone who has experienced it first-hand (and knows many others who have as well) it’s not always as cute as it appears in the movies. Sure, it’s not exactly threatening when an 80-year-old man’s eyes linger a little too long, but it’s annoying. What’s worse are the comments from passer-bys, the city bus driver honking, or full critiques of my physical appearance by men who think I don’t understand a word of what they’re saying.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always stop there.

During my first year living here I experienced unwanted hands on my bum twice — once while waiting for a bus in broad daylight, and the other while riding on a crowded bus. My guidebooks had warned me about keeping an eye on my purse while riding public transportation — but it looked like I had to watch my backside too.

The majority of Italian men do not exhibit the above behavior …but sadly, the few who do are the most noticeable, and it gives the rest of them a bad reputation.

Have an experience you’d like to share? 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