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On January 20th 2015 we’ll be speaking at a FREE event in Camden that’s all about Challenging Violence Against Women and Girls on Public Transport, along with:
Claire Perry MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport)
Bryony Beynon (Co-Director – Hollaback London)
Inspector Ricky Twford (British Transport Police – Project Guardian)
Dr. Jackie Gray (Middlesex University – Reducing sexual offences on Public Transport)
Reni Eddo-Lodge (Writer & journalist)
Since being invited to sit on the advisory board of Project Guardian, the TfL and BTP initiative to address unwanted sexual behaviour on buses, trains and tubes, we’ve heard from hundreds of women and LGBT+ people about their experiences, and researched how this problem is tackled across transit systems around the world. We’ll be presenting what we know and what we think needs to happen next, so come along to share your experiences and debate the issues an ask the panel questions!
Registration is FREE but you’ll need to sign up here.
DATE: Tuesday 20th January 2015
TIME: 10.45 to 13.00 (with lunch provided 13.00-14.00)
Registration on the day: from 10.30 onwards
25 Camden Road, London NW1 9LN
The event forms part of the government’s Women’s Engagement Programme and is one of a series of regional consultation events with women across the UK. Ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – a framework of commitments on women’s rights – these events are an opportunity to have your say on the progress being made to improve the lives of women and girls in the UK and what the priorities should be for further action.
Back in June, our friend Sarah from the End Violence Against Women Coalition introduced us to Councillor Radha Burgess. Radha had been elected as a local councillor in Southwark, and had pledged to do something about women’s safety across the borough, especially on nights out.
After lots of discussion over a period of months about the issues involved, we were really happy to see that Southwark take harassment seriously and are ready to recognise the scale of the problem without flinching. We were able to share our knowledge and experience of discussing harassment with venues and having built Good Night Out from scratch – our national UK and Ireland wide nightclub safety campaign. We partnered with Southwark on to create a local equivalent – The Women’s Safety Charter. WSC launched this week, check out this coverage in The Independent, The Telegraph, Huffington Post and The Daily Mail (watch out for the awful stock photos on that last link!) Here’s the video news report from BBC London.
1. Prominently display high-visibility posters in the venue which discourage harassment and encourage reporting
2. To take every report of harassment and sexual intimidation seriously and take appropriate action
3. To take active steps to support persons who report harassment or sexual intimidation which might take place in their premises
4. To train all front of house staff to address women’s safety and harassment
5. To take active steps to ensure women leave the venue safely
As well as consulting on the posters and reporting, our main role has been to deliver our practical and empowering training workshops to licensed premises across the borough on the issue of sexual harassment.
Building on our Good Night Out training, which has already been provided to nearly a hundred venues across the UK and Ireland, the bespoke Women’s Safety Charter training increases confidence amongst both staff and punters to deal with, tackle and prevent harassment.
The training uses principles of empowerment from our work in the VAWG sector and applies them to the issues faced by the nighttime economy. It’s also about providing a judgement-free space for staff to discuss their own experience with managers, ensuring that they feel comfortable in making use of these approaches on shifts every day.
You can see the every expanding list of pubs, clubs, venues and bars signed up in London here.
New submission from phone app
Some guy in a builders’ truck yelled at me as he drove past. I was so taken aback that I didn’t hear most of what he said, but what I did catch was incredibly rude and made me feel sick. All I had time to respond with was the angriest of angry glares.
New submission from Shannon
I was walking down Earlham Street with my friend to go to Piccadilly Circus when a group of guys standing outside a bar turned to stare and leer at us. As we got closer, they started shouting, “hey baby,” and, “come hang out with us,” among other things. When we tried to walk by them, they stood in my way (my friend was able to get by in time). One guy reached to grab my arm when I said, “Shut up and get out of my way.” They did not react well. As we walked away, one of them threw a glass at me. It only hit my ankle, but when we hopped on the bus later, I was shaking from anger and fear. It could have been more violent than that. My experience inspired me to write a post about it to an American website (I’m an American student studying abroad in London) I contribute to thelala.com, in hopes to get more university girls talking about the harassment they endure every day.
New submission from Louise
I had left work for lunch and was walking to meet a friend and I walked past a group of what looked like builders. They all glanced over as I passed but the one nearest me said ‘I would RUIN that.’ loud enough for all of us to hear and probably anyone sitting outside the Starbucks opposite. I never feel like I can respond in these situations because I just feel outnumbered and a bit intimidated. What does that even mean – you’re going to ruin me… great. Every woman loves getting ruined I guess. Another one happened a couple of days after, I ducked into a Sainsburys local quickly out of the rain with a couple of friends and a guy in the doorway said ‘mmm, very nice, you very gorgeous’ aside from making me feel like a piece of meat he continued to stare at me walking around the shop instead of leaving it like I assumed he was going to do. These two encounters are a drop in the ocean of incidents I have experienced as a teenager and a woman. (I’ll recount one more from when I was 14 and riding home on the bus in my school uniform… a creepy guy got on, obviously sat next to me, to my horror proceeded to put his head in my lap and then came up a minute later with a horrible leer on his face and said ‘No ring then?’ I later presumed he meant a marriage ring.)
New submission from CJ
I was on a flight from Gatwick to France with Easyjet. I am a frequent traveller, and I also travel alone more often than not and I have never felt harrassed. I was sat in seat by the window. From before we took off the man sitting next to me continued to push up against me, first with his legs, as i moved my legs away he pushed his leg closer, I tried to move closer to the window, my legs crossed away from his side and my right arm over my body and he then continued to push his arm into my side under my breast as i tried to move away. I tried to put my scarf between us and he continued to push into me. I appreciate these flights do not give much room but this man was persistent in touching me as I tried to move away. I eventually couldnt move away anymore, i felt completely trapped so i removed myself and went to stand at the rear of the plane. I asked a cabin crew and explained the situation very calmly, if i could be moved to another seat. He told me that there were seats available but that they were upgraded ‘paid extra’ seats and he couldnt move me, i replied in that case i would stand until we are ready to land. I then asked a cabin manager if i could be moved and she told me she couldnt move me and that i would have to take my seat.
Was i meant to wait to be groped even more by a stranger before i was moved? Cabin crew MUST be made aware that there are men who will willfully take advantage of the cramped seats to touch female strangers. I am disgusted that a seat was not made available to me by Easyjet to alievate my feelings of harrassment, even when seats were available and that Easyjet did nothing to come to my assistance.
As soon as we landed, I jumped out of my seat and took a picture of this pervert!
New submission from Cait
I was sitting next to a young woman (like me) on the bus. She had long, blonde braids. A guy got on the bus, sat in the seat in front of ours and turned around to stare. At first he just stared at her for a minute, but then he started to say “Hey gorgeous, I like your blonde hair. You’re beautiful.” I was so angry on her behalf. There were at least 15 people on the bus, it was around 2 in the afternoon and no-one said a thing. The woman looked uncomfortable. At first she said thanks, and then became silent when he got more explicit. Usually I’m scared of large guys when they’re aggressively harassing women, but I became too angry to care. I told him “Leave her alone and turn around, you’re making me uncomfortable.” He then said “I’m not bothering her.” “No,” I replied, “You’re bothering me.” He then asked if I was her girlfriend, and if she was a lesbian. “No, she’s a human being.” I think I half-yelled it. He stared at me for the longest time, until a guy on the bus distracted him and they spoke about football. When I got off, she thanked me – all I could think of was how awful it has been when I have been harassed and no-one stood up for me. Ever since then I’ve been more vocal when it’s safe to be.
New submission from Emmeline
It’s about 1am, I am on my way home – alone – from a halloween party – in costume as a blank and white bmovie character (top hat, greyshcale makeup. I have a long coat on over ter esof my costume)
As I crossed from the train station to the bus station (a 1 minute walk) two men approached me separately with a suggestively toned ‘hello’.
At the bus stop, a guy kept creepily following me around, moving to stand near me every time I moved to get away from him.
Then three young men walked past, and one said “You look niiiice.”
I ignored them.
“Hey. Hey. You. What, no thank you? Nothing? Fine bitch, you look bad. Fat slut. Fuck you bitch”.