Catcalls In Argentina May Soon Come With Fines, Jail Time

The country of Argentina is looking to make it illegal for construction workers or any other person to make harassing catcalls in public areas.

According to the Associated Press, the prompt to ban catcalls in Argentina came after 20-year-old Aixa Rizzo opened up about her experience via a YouTube video. While talking to the Associated Press, Rizzo went into detail about how men would say things to her the moment she walked out of her house in Buenos Aires. The catcalls started off as minor compliments at first, but they then developed into vulgar phrases and descriptions of what the men wanted to do with her.

“They shouted these things at me for an entire month. I couldn’t walk out of my house in peace.”

Lawmakers now have plans to vote on a new legislation in a few months that would make catcalls illegal in Argentina. The news comes shortly after the Inquisitr reported that protests erupted in Santa Fe, Argentina following the death of a 14-year-old girl who was strangled by her 16-year-old boyfriend.

Congresswoman Victoria Donda, the creator of one of the bills that would ban catcalls in Argentina, says compliments about how a woman looks or what she is wearing are OK. However, the main focus of her bill is on putting an end to comments that go too far.

“Lewd comments are just the tip of the iceberg that manifests itself in domestic violence.”

Donda’s bill will provide funding to schools and workplaces for awareness programs on sexual violence, and women can make a claim of sexual harassment in public places. The claims don’t just have to stem from vulgar comments someone made; they can also be from someone honking their car horn or making whistling sounds amongst other things, according to CityLab.

If a person is found guilty of making lewd catcalls to women in Argentina, that person can face a fine of around $120 or 1,000 pesos in Argentinean currency. There is also the possibility of five days in jail if convicted of the misdemeanor charge.

Argentina is not the first country to take a stand against catcalls. Earlier this year, Paraguay, Peru outlawed catcalls, and there’s a proposal to sentence those convicted of the act to 180 days in jail.

While there are many applauding Argentina for taking a stand against harrassing catcalls, there are some who feel that a nice comment could be misinterpreted. Construction worker Orlando Britez told the Associated Press that he may have to think twice before he says anything to female passerbys, even if it’s not degrading.

“It means I would have to hold it in, and not say what I really want to.”

Elio Borlio, one of Britez’s coworkers, doesn’t see a problem with catcalls, as long as they are actually complimentary.

“If we say nice things, what’s wrong with that? Things like, `Look at how beautiful you are.’”

Do you think Argentina may be going too far with wanting to outlaw catcalls?

[Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images]