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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.

Across the country, UK girls are facing verbal and physical harassment every day – and they've told us they want it to stop. In 2018 66% of girls aged 14 to 21 told us they had experienced unwanted sexual attention or harassment in a public place. 

We listened to girls and launched our campaign I Say It’s Not OK. Thanks to you support, we changed the conversation, and 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.

In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has meant girls are not only having to deal with restrictions on public space, but also with feeling unsafe due to harassment in public. Let’s make this the generation to end the harassment of girls in public places. It’s time to make it a crime.

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.

Stand with Maya and Gemma and help change the law on public street harassment

Crime Not Compliment

Join our 2020 campaign

Now more than ever we must stand with girls and champion their right to move freely in public, without the fear of being intimidated and harassed. Let’s make this the generation to end the harassment of girls in public places.

We need as many people as possible to join the call to show MPs we must make public sexual harassment a crime. Add your name to join the campaign and make our streets safer for everyone.

DO YOU FEEL SAFE ON THE STREET?

Our 2018 survey told us...

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

Help us change the law on public sexual harassment

Join our 2020 campaign

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, 18, from Manchester
Atlanta, 18, from Manchester sits on Plan International UK's Youth Advisory Panel

‘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. As a result of our campaigning, the UK Government took an important step in 2019 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 public sexual harassment to be made a crime.