Whistling at women in Peru could land you behind bars for 12 years

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Men who hiss at women on the streets of Lima might soon find themselves whistling all the way to jail.

A new law passed last week in Peru calls for jail sentences of up to 12 years for men who make lewd comments at women in public places. The catcall crackdown comes weeks after a Peruvian anti-street harassment video called "Silbale a tu madre" ("Catcall your mother") went viral, drawing men's attention to the situation women face on the streets of the Peruvian capital every day.

Police officials told Peruvian daily El Comercio that officers are being trained on ways to better handle complaints about sexual harassment. But the new law has some men hissing.


"How do you determine whether a look or a whistle is being done with sexual intent?" demanded lawyer Luis Lamas Puccio.

The catcall-your-mother video, a public-service announcement produced by the sporting goods company Everlast, took a novel approach to addressing the issue of sexual harassment by staging a "fake documentary" where men were tricked into catcalling their own mothers. The video was a huge hit online, with more than 5 million views in Spanish and 4 million in English.

According to The Guardian, the "Silbale a tu madre" campaign was started after Peruvian actress and singer Magaly Solier was assaulted while riding on a public bus in Lima last year. The Guardian said a man stood behind Solier on the bus and started masturbating and none of the passengers tried to get him to stop. Solier reportedly said about the incident, "Women can't live like this. Afraid."

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