The Severity Of Sexual Harassment
I’m sure if you’re sat reading this article, then you will know about who was recently elected President of The United States of America. For those of you who don’t, a very powerful and rich man who is against immigration amongst other things and openly sexist towards women, called Donald Trump won the election. This isn’t an article about Donald (although I am going to be mentioning him briefly throughout), but considering his recent “promotion” shall we call it, I think it’s time we talk about the severity of sexual harassment in the UK.
If you Google ‘what is sexual harassment’ the definition is as follows; ‘harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks’ and I for one can say this has happened more than a dozen times. A recent poll of 1,553 women found that 52% have encountered some form of sexual harassment in work, whether it be sexual jokes, groping or sexual advances.
I spoke with two females, who I’ve decided to keep anonymous about experiences they’ve had of sexual harassment in the work place. Both of their stories have a lot of similarities, one being their reaction to said harassment, for example “I can't push them off me or react badly, I just have to smile, laugh, ask them if they want a shot and if not I just walk away.” Both females either work or have worked as bar staff when the incidents took place. Whereas the first example was based around a busy nightclub, the other example was at a restaurant/bar in the evening; “Just as I was closing the gap between myself and the glass cleaning area a guy I'd never met grabbed me between my legs.” At the time, the second female was only 15 years old and when she approached her female manager about it all she was told an “unconcerned and unsympathetic 'Get used to it.’” It is no way tolerable or acceptable for any female to have a strange man physically put his hand between her legs, nevermind a 15 year old girl who is still growing up and maturing.
She started off her story actually saying “my first day of work I was sexually assaulted. 'Grabbed by the pussy' as Trump would say” which is one of the MANY examples that have come to light about Donald Trump’s sexist outlook.
Unfortunately it doesn’t stop in the work place, whether you’re on a night out or walking down the street, women are still at a high risk of sexual harassment or assault.
A study conducted by The Telegraph in 2015, found that a third of female students in Britain were victims of some form of sexual assault and/or harassment and 43% did not report the ordeal, or even tell family or friends. And just to make things even more grim, official statistics released on crime in England and Wales for 2015 found that,“police recorded rape increased by 41% (to 29,265 offences) compared with the previous year, following previous increases every year since 2007/08. Other sexual offences increased by 36% (to 58,954 offences). Both rape and other sexual offences are at the highest level since the NCRS [National Crime Recording Standard] was introduced in 2002/03.”
Now that is a lot of information to take in and it’s only natural to feel relatively unsafe and pretty shit after trying to rationalise those statistics. Considering how much sexual harassment/assault is rife in the UK (bare in mind not all victims will even admit to incidents), then why isn’t something being done about it? And why can someone like Donald Trump be elected in, by one of the most admired nations in the entire world? There are numerous charities, websites and help lines to talk through with victims of sexual harassment, assault or abuse but instead, it’s peoples outlook of women that needs dramatically changing.
I know a lot of people feel the same way that I do when it comes to these issues, and yet the government haven’t really implemented anything that will have huge positive effects in society. It was a sad day to see such a proud sexist being elected to run America, it highlights that one of the most developed countries in the world, still has a long way to come in terms of women’s rights.
One huge charity in the UK is Citizen Advice, they actually cover a lot of different elements from discrimination, benefits and housing to name a few. But they do have some valuable advice on sexual harassment, and what to do to prevent it or if you become a victim. You can click anywhere on this sentence to be taken to the page, to learn more about it all.
There’s no way to end this article on a positive note, without discrediting everything I’ve just said. But hopefully these statistics have opened some of your eyes more, and reassured others that you’re not alone when it comes to sexual harassment. I don’t know where we will be politically in terms of the UK government in 4 years time, but here’s hoping that orange faced lunatic doesn’t get another term.