Politics

MPs are voting today on introducing misogyny as a hate crime

The vote would see misogyny introduced as part of the upskirting bill

MPs will vote today on introducing misogyny as a hate crime.  

Labour MP Stella Creasy put forward an amendment to the upskirting bill, which was reintroduced after an earlier attempt was blocked before parliamentary recess by Conservative MP Sir Christopher Chope.

If successful Creasy’s amendment would include misogyny as an aggravating factor and allow the courts to consider this when passing sentences on hate crime offences, which currently includes offences motivated by hostility based on race, religion, trans identity, sexual orientation or disability. And stats revealed today show just how important it is that the amendment is approved.

A survey from women’s rights charity Plan International UK found two thirds of girls have been the target of sexual harassment in public.

A total of 38 per cent of girls experience verbal harassment like catcalling, wolf whistling and sexual comments at least once a month, while 15 per cent are being touched, groped or grabbed every month. Nearly 1 in 10 (9 per cent) girls reported experiencing upskirting – where someone took a photograph up their skirt without their permission.

Tanya Barron, chief executive of Plan International UK said the survey was “shocking” and called on the public to take responsibility for enacting change: “[Girls] are being harassed while they’re out with their friends, travelling on public transport and just trying to get on with their everyday lives. [They] have a right to move around independently and be in public places without fear. They are telling us that they refuse to accept harassment as a normal part of growing up. They want to see change, and we all have a responsibility to help make that happen.”

The survey found only a fifth of girls who had been targeted by street harassment said witnesses had responded in a helpful manner with many feeling forced to alter their behaviour avoid being a target. The survey reported 28 per cent don’t go out at night, 22 per cent would walk a longer route to avoid somewhere and 17 per cent dress differently or change what they wear.

Image: Stella Creasy, by Rwendland/Wikimedia Commonons

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