24 November 2017
News release originally published by VIDA
Today sees the launch of a new campaign to tackle the sexual harassment of women and girls in South Yorkshire.
The campaign is the culmination of a year’s work by a collaboration of local groups and individuals, in response to the experiences of women and girls being harassed by men and boys in the street and public places. But the launch couldn’t be more timely, as sexual harassment and assault, and the misogyny at the root of it, continues to receive intense media coverage, as more women find the courage to speak out.
Know the Line campaign seeks to challenge the attitudes of perpetrators of sexual harassment, and the bystanders who tend to ignore it. At the same time we want to encourage and empower the women and girls on the receiving end, to realise that they do not have to accept it, and that they can report incidents whether a crime has been committed or not. The spectrum that starts with cat calling, and unwanted touching, can end in rape and serious sexual assault when it goes unchecked.
This first multi-agency launch event will focus on what sexual harassment means to a wide range of organisations and their service users. Speakers will include Louise Haigh MP, Shadow Minister for Policing, representatives from the Violence Against Women & Girls sector, South Yorkshire Police, Sheffield City Council, local students and pioneers from the Nottinghamshire campaign to recognise misogyny as hate crime, including former Chief Constable Sue Fish.
A few places are still available – just turn up at the Quaker Meeting House, 10 St James’ St, Sheffield S1 2EW Friday 24th November 2017 2-4pm
Video testimonies from women in Sheffield: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd3zPPRvSzg
Maureen Storey, Director, Vida Sheffield said: “Everyone has the right to feel safe. Sexual harassment shouldn’t be a ‘normal’ part of daily life for women and girls. They don’t have to put up with it, and we want to encourage them to report these incidents as hate crimes. We also want bystanders to call this behaviour out and actively show their support – we can work together to make South Yorkshire safer for all of us.”
Louise Haigh MP said: “Tackling sexual harassment against women and girls is one of the most important issues in the fight for equality. I’m really glad to see this campaign launched to open people’s eyes to the reality of this awful behaviour – and how they can help stop it.
“It’s hugely important that all these agencies work together to tackle sexual harassment, make clear that it isn’t acceptable anywhere, and show that people will stand up to stop it if they see it.”
Cllr Cate McDonald, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care at Sheffield City Council, said: “We welcome the launch of this campaign, which will address these key challenges. It is really important that everyone ‘knows the line’ and that no-one should have to be in fear of harassment on the streets of Sheffield.”
Superintendent Paul McCurry from South Yorkshire Police said: “We will be attending the launch event to show our support for this campaign. Combatting sexual harassment of women and girls in any city, in any situation, is our shared purpose.
“Nobody should feel afraid to walk along the street, or go on an evening out with friends, in case they are subjected to verbal, sexual or physical abuse, but this is sadly an increasing concern and reality for many women and girls.
“Street harassment can be an incredibly upsetting experience and impactive for its victims, and this campaign aims to educate individuals on what behaviour is ‘over the line’ and how what may be considered by some to be an innocent act or joke, may be a crime and have significant and detrimental consequences on the victim subjected to that behaviour.
“We also hope this campaign and its important message empowers bystanders to call out those engaging in sexual harassment and to show solidarity with women and girls subjected to it.”