The term ‘street harassment’ is understood by many, but it can underplay the harmful and abusive nature of sexual harassment. We now use the term ‘public sexual harassment’ which recognises that sexual harassment can happen anywhere. These incidents not only take place on the streets but can happen in any public spaces - parks, gyms, university campuses, transport or shopping centres.
Crime Not Compliment
We must stand with girls and champion their right to move freely in public, without the fear of being intimidated and harassed. We spoke with girls in the UK and we know what solutions work to end the harassment of girls in public places.
We need as many people as possible to join the campaign to show MPs and the Government we must make public sexual harassment a crime.
‘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.”
‘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.”
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.”
Gemma from Our Streets Now shares her experience of public sexual harassment and the #CrimeNotCompliment campaign
Youth advocates have taken your petition signatures to decision makers.
UK girls are facing street harassment on a daily basis, and it’s time for it to stop.
Our report on girls’ experiences of street harassment in the UK.
The main banner image is a photo of an actor from the I Say It's Not Ok film.
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.