Make Public Sexual Harassment a Criminal Offence
Feminist Law Society is in absolute awe of, and filled with everlasting gratitude for, the outstanding work that these two young sisters, Gemma and Maya Tutton, and their impressive and expanding team are doing for all those subjected to, and impacted by, public sexual harassment. It is vital that we each do all that we can to make public sexual harassment a criminal offence in England and Wales.
'OurStreetsNow are campaigning to make all forms of street harassment illegal and a reportable offence like it is in France, as we believe that it is only through recognising it as an offence that we can bring it to an end.
Started by sisters Gemma and Maya Tutton, the campaign has two main focal points – awareness and action. Legal action is vital – yes – but we also believe that our voices have been silenced for far too long and that is about time we started to speak out. Within the first year of legislative change, France saw 700 fines issued against street harassment, highlighting just how strongly people will stand up against this when given the option.' - Our Streets Now
'Hello hello hello! Welcome back to the StudyTube Project! Today we have the wonderful Jess, who is a campaigner for Our Streets Now, on our channel talking about the very important topic of Public Sexual Harassment.' - The StudyTube Project
'Hello and welcome to the Cheer Up Luv Podcast, hosted by Eliza Hatch. This week I'm speaking to the dynamic duo that are Maya and Gemma Tutton, otherwise known as the campaigners behind Our Streets Now, an initiative to make street harassment illegal. In today's episode we speak about the intersections of street harassment, experiencing it in school and taking action to end harassment once and for all!' - Cheer Up Luv
Image of interview by France 24 English
Like many of those subjected to public sexual harassment, Marie Languerre stood up to her harasser, like many who stand up to their harasser, it turned hostile, unlike many, Marie was able to produce video evidence of her attack. This video facilitated a cultural and legislative shift, making public sexual harassment a criminal offence in France.
'Sexist contempt is the imposition of a sexual or sexist connotation or behavior upon a person that violates his or her dignity or exposes him or her to a distressing situation. Contempt is an offense that can be punished with a fine of up to €750.. If you are the victim of a sexist outrage, you can alert the police and the gendarmerie and lodge a complaint against the perpetrator.' - Service-Public.fr
'French authorities have issued over 700 fines since a street harassment law came into effect last year.
France's Secretary of Equality between men and women, Marlène Schiappa, spearheaded the effort as part of an overall law against sexual violence in France.
"We have tolerated street harassment for too long. It is no longer allowed to insult, threaten, follow, or humiliate women in the street, transport system or public space. The fines will continue," the French government tweeted.' - EuroNews
'This survey asked 153 secondary pupils and recent school leavers about their experiences of reporting PSH to staff, discussing the issue in school and what they want to change. It was mostly answered by Our Streets Now followers and supporters and therefore represents the voices of one community who largely have knowledge of lived experiences of PSH.' - Our Streets Now
'Street harassment of women and girls is endemic. In the UK, two in three girls have been sexually harassed in public. In this passionate talk, Jess Leigh argues it’s time to stop blaming girls and take a stand against unacceptable behaviour.
Since joining Plan International UK's youth advisory panel at the age of 15, Jess Leigh has worked on a number of campaigns to give girls an equal chance in life and spoken in a number of venues including the House of Lords about issues facing girls in the 21st century.'
'Why do adults think it is my responsibility to protect boys from their impulses? Why don't they make boys take responsibility?'
'Our Streets Now and Plan International UK have commissioned leading international human rights lawyers to develop a cutting-edge legislative solution – a draft bill, drawing on best practice from across the world but tailored to the UK’s unique legal traditions and context. It creates effective, unprecedented protection for girls and women from public sexual harassment. It is a vital missing link in the UK’s safeguarding mechanism for girls and women. It is Parliament-ready.' - Policy Briefing, 2020
'Sexual harassment of women in street could become new criminal offence in wake of Sarah Everard murder
The campaign for the new law is being backed by Nimco Ali, a feminist campaigner appointed by the Home Secretary to advise on the Government’s new strategy to combat sexual violence against women and girls.
It comes as a survey by UN Women UK revealed the shocking statistics that 97 per cent of women aged between 18 and 24 have been the victims of sexual harassment.' - The Sun
'71% of women of all ages in the UK have experienced some form of sexual harassment in a public space. This number rises to 86% among 18-24-year-olds and only 3% of 18-24 year-olds reported having not experienced any of the types of harassment listed.
The two main reasons women of all ages cited for not reporting incidents are: “I didn’t think the incident was serious enough to report” (55%) and “I didn’t think reporting it would help” (45%)
44% of women agreed that having more confidence that reporting the incident would prevent it from happening again would encourage them to report' - APPG for UN Women Report Executiuve Summary
'If we were all constantly catching harassers for harassing us, it would completely overpower our court system. So we need to figure out a way to address this problem that is going to work efficiently and quickly and not put the labour on on women and girls and the victims of this harassment.
Which I think is a really key point about the on-the-spot-fines is that what we're doing is that we're not putting the emphasis, once again, on women and girls changing their behaviour, what we're saying is that the law needs to change, the politicians need to speak out.' - Maya Tutton
'The events of 2020 highlight the continuing need for Reclaim the Night. Violence against women and girls surged alarmingly as COVID-19 spread and we went into lockdown.
Globally the statistics are horrific and the UK is no exception. RESPECT, the national domestic violence charity, reported a large increase in cases and in the first 3 weeks of lockdown, 14 women and 2 children were murdered (3 times more than usual).
Engagement with the National Stalking Advocacy Service, Report Harmful Content Hotline and Revenge Porn Helpline doubled...'
'...The impact of COVID19 has disproportionately impacted racially minoritised communities - just one snapshot is that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women are 3 times as likely to have lost jobs during the pandemic. Greater rates of death from COVID19 have been linked to ongoing inequalities. The Windrush Scandal is just one example. Many people have died before getting redress, including prominent campaigner Paulette Wilson earlier this year.' - Reclaim the Night
Video by Rob Bliss of robblisscreative.com
'By now, you've probably seen the viral video of actress Shoshana Roberts walking the streets of New York City, enduring some pretty appalling street harassment. In the video, Roberts experiences real-life harassment ranging from being told to smile to being silently trailed by a man for five minutes. The short video is terrifying to watch, and rightly went viral after its release this week ...'
Bustle spoke to Rob Bliss, the creator, producer, and director of the video, which was a collaboration with the anti-street harassment organization Hollaback, about the controversy surrounding the video, and the inspiration behind it.' - Amanda Chatel for Bustle, 2014
'I just started messaging all of my friends and girls that I knew on Facebook and saying, "Have you experienced this before? Does this happen? Do you have a story and, if you do, would you be willing to be photographed?" Every woman got back to me and I had two kinds of responses.
The first kind of response was, "Yes, of course. I'm so happy I can finally talk about this. Which one of my ten stories would you like to pick from?"
The other response I got was, "Oh, I'm not sure. I don't think anything that serious has ever happened to me. I don't know if it counts.."
To that, I basically just said, "Well, has anybody ever shouted something at you from a moving vehicle? Has anybody ever made you feel uncomfortable? Has anyone ever done something in a club or a bar? Said something to you that made you feel sexually threatened?".
Then when I said that, I got these responses: "Oh, yeah, I guess maybe all the time. That counts?" I said "of course that counts." That's why I want to do this project.' - Eliza Hatch
'Reclaim the Campus is a campaign designed to address the widespread issue of sexual harassment, assault and rape on university campuses across the UK.
The name Reclaim the Campus is inspired by the well-known Reclaim the Night campaign, which demanded night-time safety and access for women across the UK.
Ran by students a generation removed, we demand that UK Universities are safe and free from sexual violence for everyone.' - Reclaim the Campus
By Filip Waszczuk, Policy Analyst, April 2020
Please note, while this report is an incredibly helpful and informative resource, Feminist Law Society believe it is important to highlight the problematic use of the term 'catcalling'.
It is widely recognised that using this term to describe public sexual harassment contributes to society minimising the issue and its impact on victims.
Also, for the avoidance of doubt, we are not cats.
'The majority of schoolchildren in the UK are not taught about street harassment, despite the fact that 2 in 3 girls will be subject to this violence (Plan UK, 2016).
On 2nd September 2020, we launched “Our Schools Now”, a new campaign to include public sexual harassment as part of PSHE/RSE lessons in schools.
In doing so, we hope to raise a new generation of girls who never blame themselves for the harassment they will likely face, and a generation of boys who never become perpetrators of this everyday violence.' - Our Streets Now