After coming forward about her catcalling experience, Christen Brandt was confronted with what many women on the Internet face when they speak up: backlash.
Brandt, co-founder of non-profit She’s the First, shared her experience of being catcalled in a Facebook post on Jan. 28. Brandt wrote that she was catcalled in a New York subway station while wearing a parka and boots to show that receiving unsolicited commentary on her appearance has little to do with a woman's outfit. The post was covered by numerous news outlets, including The Huffington Post, and went viral with more than 187,000 likes as of Monday morning.
After her story gained so much attention, Brandt set up a site called Christen's Inbox to showcase the feedback she's received. In the form of Instagram comments and Facebook messages, many people suggested Brandt misinterpreted the so-called "compliments" she received that night, called her ugly and told her she should kill herself.
Language in the images below may be offensive to some readers.
Brandt described the comments on Instagram as "especially harsh," which was difficult for her because she knew her 12-year-old goddaughter checked her profile regularly. However, a different sort of response inspired her to continue speaking out. Aside from the negative feedback, Brandt has received responses from some men asking how they can help stop catcalling. Most importantly, she heard stories from women who shared that they have gone through similar experiences.
"They shared the post with the same stories, which was amazing to watch and see their own networks respond, and the conversation take off exponentially," Brandt told The Huffington Post in an email. "Those stories have, in all honesty, propelled me to get out of bed some mornings. Because soon enough, the trolls came out, too."
Brandt told HuffPost that the responses she's gotten so far from women emphasize how common harassment is. With Christen's Inbox, she hopes to help more people share their stories and prove to any skeptics that catcalling, unfortunately, is alive and well.
"I don't know how you can deny that this is an issue when the words are in front of you, in black and white," she said.
Check out more responses from Christen's Inbox, both positive and negative, below and head to her site for more information.
Also on HuffPost: