Whistling, shouting, chasing and even touching: for Nova Adelerhof (16) from Rotterdam-Overschie, street intimidation has been a daily occurrence for years.

And it is no different for the girls around her, according to the teenager.

'When I touch it, I draw the line, it makes me so angry.'

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While the photo accompanying this story is being shot, a hoot is heard from a passing car. Nova sighs. "I'm so used to it, it goes from one ear to the other for me," she says. She was only eleven years old when she was first chased by men. "I've always looked a lot older than my age. But of course I was very shocked," she remembers. Since then, her parents have also been extra alert: "They don't really want me to walk alone in the dark. And my father always knows where I am thanks to the tracking app on my phone. If it's not turned on, he's quickly worried," says Nova.

Nowadays she is confronted daily with annoying men: during sports, her newspaper route or on the way to school.

"I only do sports with my boyfriend, then I get fewer comments," she says.

'Hey whore, are you coming home with me'

When she goes to the center in the evening, she experiences the most inconvenience: "In the city I already know in advance that it will happen. Sometimes it is comments like 'you look good', but I also often hear 'hey whore, will you come home with me'. That's quite threatening."

How does she react to that?

"Usually walk quickly, don't look back. But when I touch it, I draw the line, it makes me so angry. Then I often can't resist saying something."

Nova is currently one of the thirty Dutch semifinalists in the Miss World competition.

In the race for the title, she uses the platform to highlight street harassment.

"I've always wanted to do something about it, but what can you as a 16-year-old girl? With Miss World behind me, I can get a lot more done."

And that is very necessary, she thinks.

In her podcast series

FeelYourVeilig

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she enters into discussions with others to break the taboo on topics such as street intimidation, misogynistics and gender inequality.

"I think that's really special to do, some of them share their story with me for the first time."

'Fake bubbles to feel safer'

In addition, she will soon start a petition via her Instagram account novacheyen_ with which she wants to argue for a tougher approach.

"I often hear stories of girls who have been harassed on the street for whom nothing is reported. I think that should really change."

The Rotterdam ban on street intimidation was reversed in 2019 because it was found to be contrary to freedom of expression by the Court of Appeal in The Hague.

With her petition, Nova hopes to make a difference initially in Rotterdam, but later also in the rest of the Netherlands.

"It is actually too bizarre for words that almost all girls I know are not allowed to cycle home alone in the evening. Or make fake phone calls to feel safer on the street."

Her fellow miss finalists have also shared their experiences with Nova: "I spoke to a number of them about what they have experienced in the field of street harassment. They included intense experiences. I plan to make a magazine with those stories."

By exposing the problem, Nova hopes to create more understanding among the men who call after women.

"I think most don't even mean it badly. If they understood how unsafe you feel as a girl, it might happen less."

Keywords: nova, street intimidation, rotterdam whistling, nova., girls, line, men, newspaper route, nova adelerhof, rotterdam-overschie, teenager, home, miss finalists, more, article