The subject is not widely discussed but the fact is that it is a routine, everyday occurrence for younger women. There is no research on the prevalence of sexual harassment in the UK, nor on its impact, although some ongoing qualitative research in London is beginning to find that the impacts are very wide-ranging – from increasing women’s fear of crime and making them change their behaviour, to affecting body image and choice of dress.
You can read our full press statement and download the poll here. Our story received a huge amount of media attention, including Guardian, Independent, Metro, BBC London radio, LBC, 5 Live, ITV London News where it was the top story and included an interview with Baroness Scotland. EVAW is calling for public campaigns to ensure a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment, transport staff to receive training and ongoing debate to make it less socially acceptable and encourage bystanders to intervene.
Following a series of reviews on the impact of sexualisation on young people and a recent Independent Parliamentary Inquiry, the UK Government has said it intends to consult on options for filtering porn. There is growing evidence about the harms of porn and sexualisation on women and children's equality and safety by helping to shape unhealthy attitudes to sex and relationships and normalising sexual violence. We would urge the government to ensure that this work is properly linked into the Home Office led Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls and that it works with experts in the violence against women sector in developing these policies.
Furthermore, if the Government is truly serious about tackling our sexualised culture it must ensure that all young people in schools and other youth settings have the information they need about sexuality, sexual consent, healthy relationships, gender stereotypes and media literacy to empower them to deal with the bombardment of images they face through music videos, games, films and ads. We cannot leave it to chance whether children receive the support and information they need.
“If you dress provocatively and chat with rich footballers then consent must always be presumed. Ched Evans is the victim.”
Tweet highlighting the urgent need to tackle prejudicial attitudes amongst the public and in schools.
Following our campaigning against the naming and abuse of the young woman raped by Sheffield United player Ched Evans on Twitter and elsewhere, many football fans and non-football fans alike spoke up against the abuse and made reports to the police. 16 people have now been arrested under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act and the Malicious Communications Act. Furthermore, questions have been asked in Parliament of Ministers about how such abuse can be prevented in future including by Kerry McCarthy MPand Bridget Phillipson MP. The football authorities themselves were questioned about their deafening silence to speak out against the abuse by a minority of football fans by Louise Mensch MP in the Culture Media and Sport Committee. We believe the tweet above shows how desperately a sustained programme of work is need to tackle prejudicial attitudes that many people hold towards women who experience sexual or other violence, and particularly that work to shape healthy attitudes is needed in schools.