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street harassment

It’s an incredibly frustrating aspect of reality that women and girls face constant public sexual harassment daily.

In Tuesday’s report written by MPs on the women and qualities committee in Britain, the issue has now been labelled “urgent” following a nine-month enquiry on the matter.

The report is insisting that the UK government take immediate and effective action to attempt to create a safer public environment for women.

From exercising in public parks and frequenting nightclubs or bars to simply utilising our city’s public transport, women can almost almost claim to have felt the burden of danger in communal spaces of our communities.

Experiences have more recently been shared of extensive experiences of sexual assault and harassment, and there are more accounts than ever of crimes being committed against women in public.

France has recently introduced a law against street harassment which results in on-the-spot fines for predatory comments and harassment such as sexualised remarks and wolf-whistling, after a woman was viciously attacked by a man for confronting him about his offensive behaviour towards her.

The committee has “heard evidence of widespread problems” of both men and boys “sexually harassing women and even girls on buses and trains, in bars and clubs, in online spaces and at university, in parks and on the street.”

The subject of school uniforms was also mentioned in the report, written by cross-party MPs, testifying that girls in their school attires are pressurised to avoid risky situations which "keeps women and girls unequal".

Street harassment has been described in the document as “relentless and becomes ‘normalised’ as girls grow up, contributing to a wider negative cultural effect on society.”

The committee also sets out seven steps which they aim to take in the report, among them is the proposal to force train and bus operators and publican landlords to take tougher measures towards fighting sexual harassment on their premises.

It also requests a public information campaign which is specifically designed to change attitudes, akin to road safety campaigns and first aid programmes.

The British Home Office also states that they view the epidemic problem as a “key priority,” and are devising an updated “Violence against Women and Girls” strategy and scheme.

Writing on public pavements in chalk has become a new pacifistic method for women to fight back, to feel safe in their own cities.

Regardless of government promises to eliminate such prevalent behaviour entirely by 2030, the Women and Equalities Committee concludes negatively that there is currently "no evidence of any programme to achieve this".

Twitter users especially are expressing anger at how ‘obvious’ the headline is, and that there is not a single mention of men in the article, who are by-in-large the major perpetrators of sexual harassment. 

It remains to be seen whether improvements will take place which will finally allow women and girls to feel safe, but the reaction online to the BBC’s headline has been scathing.

Let's hope governments worldwide bring in sharp ways to tackle this highly concerning problem which is so engrained in our culture that many of us have become completely desensitised to it. Safety is a right, not a privilege.

Have a look at BBC’s 100 Women I know video on Street Harassment here:

The Bristol Zero Tolerance group has also written an informative guide on how to respond to street harassment, which you can read here.

Stay safe, gals.

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New laws aimed at tackling sexual violence in France will see men fined for wolf-whistling at women. 

France’s National Assembly voted in favour of the new legislation which will see offenders face on-the-spot fines of up to €750. 

President Emmanuel Macron has said the bill is meant to ensure "women are not afraid to be outside," and covers anything that “infringes the freedom of movement of women in public spaces and undermines self-esteem and the right to security”.

Despite widespread public backing, far-right lawmaker Emmanuelle Menard labelled the legislation as a "witchhunt against men" during last week's debate. 

Speaking about the law and how it would define the lines between harassment and flirtatious behaviour, France's minister for gender equality, Marlene Schippa, said the bill was not intended to "kill the culture of the 'French lover' but rather establish that consent is key."

This comes at the same time France's lower parliament stopped legislation whereby minors under 15 who have sex with adults over 18 would be presumed not to have given their consent, and instead introduced a clause in which relations between an adult and a minor could be classified as rape if "the victim lacks the ability to consent". 

The bill now is now due to go to the Senate for final approval.

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If you have been looking for your daily dose of amazing things on the internet, then settle back my friend, you have arrived. 

Catcalling is one of those infuriating and sometimes terrifying components of the female experience that we would rather not have to deal with. 

Do you ignore them? Yell at them to go away? 

Author Zoë Quinn, or UnburntWitch on Twitter, had a slightly creepier and ultimately epic response to one street harasser.

 While out one day after dental surgery, one man decided he needed to catcall Zoe, who was minding her own business.

Rather than ignore him, Zoe looked decided to open her mouth and allow a measure of post-surgery blood dribble from her mouth like she was some kind of demonic creature from the underworld. 

We think it's pretty safe to say the guy probably thought twice about catcalling a woman again. 

'Don't hassle someone who has three of their own back teeth in their pocket at the moment' she continued in another Tweet.

BRB, we're literally crying with laughter.

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