Women and girls, what is your experience of sexual harassment in public places?

The Women and Equalities Committee in the UK parliament has launched an inquiry into men and boy’s sexual harassment of women and girls in public places and are calling for written submissions. Anyone can send a submission and we would encourage you to do so. Alternatively, feel free to share your experiences with us and we will use them to inform our submission. You can do this in the comment section below or by emailing us in confidence.

What is your experience?

Please tell us of your experiences of male harassment in public places – the street, bars, public transport, shopping areas, when driving, etc. (Examples from your own workplace are outside the scope of the inquiry.)

We are interested in both one-off incidents and similar ones that you experience frequently. If the latter, please provide examples, making it clear roughly how often they occur.

If you can, please explain how the harassment has impacted you – for example, has it affected your health or sleep patterns, or caused you to change your behaviour, take a longer route home, not go out, stay with a boyfriend for protection? How does it feel?

We have heard from many women that male harassment is worse in areas where prostitution is tolerated, or there are lap dancing clubs and similar. Please let us know if this has been your experience. Do you see a connection with men and boys’ porn use?

Have you been targeted by kerb crawlers? Have you been solicited by men in the street (or bars or elsewhere) wanting to buy sex?

What would you like the government/police/local authorities to do to address this problem?

Questions to consider

Here is an extract from the Terms of Reference of the inquiry, listing questions to consider. You don’t need to answer all of them. If you share your experiences with us, we will use them to inform our answers to relevant questions:

The scale and impact of sexual harassment of women and girls in public places

  • How widespread is sexual harassment of women and girls in public places and what form does it take? Do we know whether this has increased or decreased over time?
  • Who are the perpetrators and the victims, and how does it happen?
  • What is the impact of sexual harassment on the lives of women and girls? Are there other effects, such as on bystanders, or on society in general?
  • What gaps exist in the evidence about sexual harassment in public places?

Why does sexual harassment of women and girls in public places happen?

  • What are the factors (including social and cultural factors) that lead to sexual harassment of women and girls in public places?
  • How do men and boys learn what is acceptable behaviour?
  • What evidence is there of links between harmful attitudes that men and boys have towards women and girls and sexual harassment?
  • What evidence, if any, is there of links between harmful attitudes and other behaviours such as paying for sex or using pornography?
  • How can negative attitudes and behaviours be changed?

Preventing and responding to sexual harassment of women and girls in public places

  • How should the Government tackle sexual harassment in public places?
  • What are the police, local authorities or other bodies doing to tackle sexual harassment in public places? Who else has a role?
  • Are more or different laws needed? Or do existing laws need to be better understood or enforced?
  • What interventions are available, or should be available, for perpetrators and potential perpetrators?
  • Is current support adequate for victims of sexual harassment in public places?
  • Are there good practice examples or innovative thinking about tackling sexual harassment in the public realm either in the UK or internationally?

Sharing your experiences

You can submit directly to the inquiry through their webpage. The deadline is 5 March 2018.

Alternatively, you can share your experiences with us and (provided we receive them in time) we will use them to inform our submission. Add your experiences as a comment below or email us in confidence.

We promise not to identify you (unless you specify otherwise). However, it would be helpful to understand your age and ethnic background in order to clarify how different groups are targeted and affected.

Further reading

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