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Street harassment

STREET HARASSMENT

EVERY DAY, GIRLS ACROSS THE UK ARE BEING HARASSED IN PUBLIC PLACES. JOIN US AS WE STAND WITH THEM AND SAY IT'S NOT OK.

All the characters featured in our film are actors.

From parks and bus stops to our local high streets, UK girls are facing verbal and physical harassment every day – and they've told us they want it to stop. Amongst girls aged 14 to 21, 66% have experienced unwanted sexual attention or harassment in a public place. To stay safe, they’re having to take steps to avoid being targeted, from not going out at night to taking longer routes to avoid dangerous locations.

Since we launched our campaign, I Say It’s Not OK, the UK Government has recognised street harassment as a form of gender-based violence in its refreshed national strategy to end Violence Against Women and Girls. It’s a sign that, thanks to your incredible support, we’ve changed the UK-wide conversation. Now we want to see change on the ground for girls across the UK, too.

Our latest survey shows that 42% of girls who have been sexually harassed didn’t tell anyone about their experience. They’re not speaking out because it’s been normalised as part of ‘growing up’ and they feel like they won’t be taken seriously – and it’s leaving them feeling anxious, degraded and embarrassed. That’s why we’re calling on local authorities to address street harassment, so girls everywhere feel supported in speaking out.

BECAUSE I AM A GIRL

JOIN THE CAMPAIGN TO END VIOLENCE AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST GIRLS

TEDx Exeter Talk - It's not ok

In this passionate talk, our YAP Jess Leigh argues it’s time to stop blaming girls and take a stand against unacceptable behaviour.

DO YOU FEEL SAFE ON THE STREET?

2 out of 3 girls in the UK have been sexually harassed in public

35% of UK girlswearing school uniform have been sexually harassed in public

33% of UK girlswho have been sexually harassed felt too embarrassed to tell anyone

Siam, 19

‘I GET WOLF WHISTLED LIKE A DOG’

“Five seconds away from here, on my way in, I get wolf whistled like a dog. But I would have brushed that off as a part of daily life,” says 19-year-old Siam from South East England. 

“Sometimes you can put yourself in more danger if you do retaliate against some guy. You want to, every part of you wants to say something, or fight back or something, but you know that you’re safer if you just do the polite smile and walk on.”
 

A photo of Atlanta, 17, from Manchester

‘WE DIDN’T KNOW WHETHER TO TELL OUR PARENTS’

“A random guy got off at the same tram stop as me and my friend. He started walking at our speed, but then I noticed he was following us. We were running home because we knew something was off and then he started running as well,” says Atlanta, 17, from Manchester.

“We didn’t know whether to call someone, we didn’t know whether to tell our parents, because we were just so shocked. Neither of us took it further, we didn’t call the police and we didn’t do anything about it. I feel like if we had some sort of app where we could report it, it would help make everyone feel they’re not alone in the situation.”

Jess, 16, Glasgow

NOT SAFE IN SCHOOL UNIFORM

Our research shows that more than one in three girls in the UK have received unwanted sexual attention, such as being groped, stared at, catcalled and wolf-whistled, while wearing their school uniform in public.

“I was in school uniform sat on a train and this guy kept trying to put his hand on my leg,” says Jess, 16, from Glasgow.

“I ended up getting off the train that next stop and just being completely lost because I just didn’t want to sit there anymore. It was such a horrible experience.”

Dannetta stands in the middle of a square surrounded by closed shops
“When some boys don’t get the response they want, their words kind of turn aggressive.” - Dannetta, 18, London

THE RIGHT TO FEEL SAFE ON THE STREETS

Every girl has a right to move freely on the streets and in public, without the fear of being intimidated and harassed. The UK Government has taken an important step in recognising street harassment as a form of gender-based violence – but we know that every girl will have different needs depending on where they live.

That’s why we’re calling for local authorities and the Welsh Government to start building a picture of the problem in their area, and to take a zero-tolerance approach to street harassment. We’re asking them to include it in their own strategies to end violence against women and girls, to send a clear message that street harassment is not OK.

TAKE A STAND FOR EQUAL RIGHTS

Join our Because I am a Girl campaign

*Our survey was carried out by Opinium Research amongst a representative sample of 1,004 14-21 year old girls in the UK. The sample has been weighted to reflect a nationally representative audience.

If you've experienced street harassment and need to talk to someone, you can call Childline on 0800 1111 or visit their website.

If you experience behaviour that makes you feel uncomfortable on public transport, you can report it to the British Transport Police by texting what, when and where to 61016.