NYU student fights street harassment with sidewalk chalk art

- You may have noticed comments left on some of New York's sidewalks. They're written in color chalk and consist of just a few words but enough to catch your attention and make a powerful statement.

These are examples of actual quotes women are hearing on the streets: "Oh she's a pretty one. Oh those glasses. Bet she's a smart one too."

NYU senior Sophie Sandberg, 21, says she began experiencing street harassment at the age of 15.

"It's seemingly a compliment at certain times yet it made me feel very uncomfortable," she said. "I didn't feel comfortable responding to this comments."

Her freshman year in college she had to pick a topic for a class project and document the issue. So Catcalls of NYC was born. She started documenting the vulgar comments men yell at women on the streets.

Sandberg started with a small following on Instagram but once the #metoo movement took off so did Catcalls of NYC.

"I got hundreds of stories from women in New York and elsewhere talking about harassment on the street, workplace, in school," she said. "It just blew up."

The victims of street harassment message her their experiences with catcalling, including where the harassment took place. She then goes to the location and writes the catcaller's quote in big bright chalk. She calls it "chalking back."

In September, Sandberg started using the hashtag #stopharassmentinschool. (She also uses #stopstreetharassment.)

After Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her back in high school, Sandberg saw an increase in the number of messages she receives.

"I'd say 10 to 20 more submissions a day than normal," she said.

Sandberg has more 30,000 followers on Instagram. She comes out here every other day to write these quotes on the sidewalk. She said she will continue with this project even after she graduates.

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