Sexually harassing women, cat-calling to draw heavy fine, jail time in Rotterdam

The municipality of Rotterdam is making sexual harassment of women on the street a punishable offense. The city's General Local Regulation was adjusted so that anyone who cat calls, follows, asks for sex or bothers a woman in any way, will face a fine of up to 4,100 euros or up to three months in jail. This takes effect on January 1st, Security alderman Joost Eerdmans announced, RTL Nieuws reports.

From next month Rotterdam enforces will start issuing warnings for sexual harassment on the street. Four extra enforcement officers will be appointed to help with this. The city is also establishing a hotline for victims. Rotterdam is considering a separate approach to harassment of gay, lesbian or transgender people. 

A recent study showed that eight out of ten women in Rotterdam between the ages of 18 and 45 have dealt with sexual harassment on the street, Eerdmans said. "Everyone should feel safe on the street. The fact that women feel so restricted in their freedom that they adapt their clothes or avoid certain parts of the city is unacceptable." he said.

Amsterdam also adapted its General Local Regulation to make sexual intimidation on the street punishable. In the Dutch capital offenders could also face a fine of up to 4,100 euros or up to three months in jail. This isn't yet actively enforced, however. The Amsterdam city council still has to discuss it over the summer, a spokesperson for Mayor Eberhard van der Laan said to RTL Nieuws.