Justice

Rowan Blanchard Opens Up About Being Catcalled As a Child

April 2nd 2016

By:
Danielle DeCourcey

Sexual harassment like catcalling is unfortunately something that happens to many women, and also apparently 12-year-old girls.

Rowan Blanchard, the 14-year-old actress from "Girl Meets World," told People about her first experience with catcalling at a movie theater when she was 12.

 

An adult man came up to Blanchard and a friend to ask if they wanted to go for a ride.

“We were waiting outside the movies for my dad to pick us up, and this grown man came over and was like, ‘You guys need a ride anywhere?’ I was 12 years old and my friend was 15. And I just remember sitting there feeling my heart sink into my stomach.”

 

Happy Easter from yr favorite flower

A photo posted by Rowan Blanchard (@rowanblanchard) on

 

Like many women who experience sexual harassment, Blanchard thought it was her fault.

“I went home that night and didn’t tell anybody. I didn’t tell my parents because I was ashamed that it was what I was wearing. I was like, ‘Gosh, I shouldn’t wear a skirt next time. What am I doing?'”

Sadly, Rowan's experience isn't uncommon

Many women and young girls have had the same initial reaction to sexual harassment as Blanchard. They believed that they were responsible for how they were mistreated and felt ashamed and guilty. Cruelly, society often backs up that feeling, especially through slut-shaming, which has received media attention lately. Earlier this week ATTN: reported on the Internet slut-shaming of an 11-year-old. Damien Leonhardt, formerly Jessi Slaughter, was trolled for a rumor that the child had sex with an adult man six years ago. Damien told BuzzFeed News how the experience resulted in fear and loss of friendships.

It's also common for people to slut-shame young women by criticizing their clothing, saying outfits that are "too revealing" or "mature" provoke negative attention. Recently, Amber Rose defended a woman's ability to dress how she wants, saying, "If I want to wear a short skirt or a tank top, and I'm at the club and I'm having fun with my friends and I feel sexy, I'm not DTF," Rose explained. "I'm not 'asking for' nothing."

 

Sexual harassment like catcalling remains a big problem in the U.S. A 2014 survey by the group Stop Street Harassment found that 65 percent of women said they had been sexually harassed in public and 23 percent has been sexually touched. ATTN reported that the majority of women in a worldwide survey said they had changed their travel plans because of sexual harassment on public transit.

As women like Rowan share their horrible experiences, hopefully more people will think twice before catcalling young girls or anyone else.

RELATED: What It's Like To Endure Hours Of Catcalling