One in three girls in the UK say they have been sexually harassed in public while wearing school uniform, new polling reveals.
The poll by children’s charity, Plan International UK, also found that one in eight of those girls were aged 12 or younger when they experienced the unwanted attention for the first time.
2 out of 3 girls in the UK have been sexually harassed in public.— PlanInternational UK (@PlanUK) October 8, 2018
It’s not a compliment. It’s not part of growing up. It’s not ok.
Retweet to join us and say #ISayItsNotOK > https://t.co/zN7QBpNF37 #DayoftheGirl #IDG2018 pic.twitter.com/cQqi7hNJ1H
37% of the girls asked said that they had been sexually assaulted on their way to or from school.
In findings that would church the stomach of most ordinary people, 8% of respondents said that they had been photographed, and even filmed, by a stranger or in the more extreme cases, had a stranger attempt to take an ‘up-skirt’ photograph of them.
The report details the stories of a number of young girls, including that of now 16-year-old Jess from the Scottish city of Glasgow, who told researchers that she was 15 when a man on a train tried to put his hand on her knee.
“I was like, what am I supposed to do?’ I ended up getting off the train at the next stop and just being completely lost,” Jess is reported by British media as having said.
“It was such a horrible experience. I was going to see my biology tutor and I arrived at the library in tears, I was really upset about it,” she added.
READ MORE: Sex Abuse in England Primary Schools 'Prolific,' Teacher Tells Sputnik
Across the UK, girls are being harassed on the street every day. They’re being catcalled and followed, getting touched, groped and grabbed. We need you to say: it’s not ok > https://t.co/BLYmNxXLHp #ISayItsNotOK pic.twitter.com/pkDCiPPNtM— PlanInternational UK (@PlanUK) October 8, 2018
Plan International UK say that the problem of sexual predation on young girls exists in a climate where many young people see sexual harassment on the streets as “all part of growing up.” One 18-year-old in the report claims that such behaviour is often lightly dismissed as “part of the ‘bro culture’” among young men in particular. Another young woman in the report said that street-based assault for young girls has “just become normal.”
The charity has called upon the UK government to recognise such public harassment as a form of “gender-based violence.”
Tanya Barron, the chief executive of Plan International, has been quoted as saying that, “it is shocking and deeply concerning that girls, many of whom are clearly of school age because they are in uniform, are being targeted and sexually harassed by perpetrators in the street.”
“It is simply not acceptable that girls as young as 12 are being wolf-whistled at in public, touched against their will, stared at or even followed. This disgraceful behaviour needs to be called out and stopped,” she added.
Disgusting behaviour, any guy that treats a woman like that is not a man. At the same time tho, false accusations can destroy lives. It's a sad day when you can't trust the word of people and that makes it harder for real victims of sexual harassment to get justice.— Dougie Dawson (@dougied19801) October 8, 2018