The teenage girls suffering vile sexual harassment on the street

“When I was nine in my school uniform, a car drove past and I heard a smattering of horrible very sexually violent stuff that people wanted me to do,” Jess Leigh tells independent. “I thought it was my fault to smile enough or smile too much.”

Ms. Leigh, now 20, did not tell anyone what had happened. On the contrary, he shattered his mind wondering whether he was to blame for the sexual harassment he had endured.

“I wondered if my skirt was too high,” she adds. “When it really doesn’t matter what I’m wearing. They would have screamed. All these so-called small experiences add up. I’m worried now.”

Ms Leigh, who is studying international development at the University of Sussex, welcomed the government’s new strategy for violence against women and girls, which was unveiled on Wednesday.

“This strategy is the first step but we need to make sure that laws and education are changed,” she adds. “I don’t want the next generation to go through what I went through.”

Ms Leigh said sexual harassment was widely normalized when she was in school. While there was never talk of sexual harassment.

“It was a taboo subject,” she adds. “When I started talking publicly about sexual assault experiences to my friends, we realized that these experiences were important and changed our whole view of ourselves and our bodies.”

When she was 11, she recalled a letter she sent to students and parents after a friend of hers was flashed on her way home. The students were told to avoid the part of the woods where her friend was flashed, despite it being an important route leading the students home.

“When I was 15 or 16, I developed a very bad relationship with food,” she says. “A lot of it came from constantly experiencing sexual violence and hearing about it and realizing it was my fault. And feeling inadequate, scared and angry that I had to live with it. I didn’t know As for where to put this anger and blame, I took it upon myself.

Ms. Leigh is by no means alone. Data from Plan International UK, shared exclusively free, Nearly two million girls across the country are forced to change the way they live their lives as a direct result of sexual harassment in public places.

Nearly two-thirds of girls aged 14 to 21 have changed their behavior to avoid sexual harassment in public places. Concerns about being bullied are girls refraining from exercising and even going to school, as well as opting not to leave their homes at night and wear the clothes they want.

About a third of the girls pretended they were on the phone, while a quarter went with the keys in their hands, and nearly two in ten lied to tell someone they had a boyfriend or girlfriend or a fake number. Have given.

Eva, a young woman who did not want her surname to be used, said she was training for a marathon, therefore facing sexual harassment in public almost every day for jogging.

“When I was very young I didn’t exercise in public when a man in a van yelled about my breasts while running — I was 11,” she adds. “This meant that I was severely restricted during my teenage years and both my mental and physical health suffered.”

The 19-year-old, who is from Liverpool, said she remains “conscious” about the clothes she wears and the comments men make. She says that she avoids certain routes at night, even if she gets wind of it late.

The study found that nearly a third of girls say sexual harassment has had a detrimental effect on their mental health and wellbeing, while almost a quarter said it caused them to avoid their usual route to school, university or their workplace .

Rose Caldwell, Chief Executive Officer of Plan International UK, said: “We are deeply disappointed that the government’s strategy of violence against women and girls does not include a new law to tackle public sexual assault. Without a new law, millions of girls will be left unprotected.

“However, the government has recognized that this is an urgent issue that needs more attention. We urge the government to quickly deliver on its promise to review the loopholes in the law – and then commit to a new public sexual harassment law.

“Girls below the age of ten are being harassed, chased and touched. It is extraordinary if a girl is going to school on a train and a man leans against her; Presses her body against him, invades her space and whispers obscene remarks in her ear, something she is not protected by existing laws. “

Priti Patel has suggested that street harassment may become a specific crime as part of the government’s strategy of violence against women and girls. More than 180,000 people have contributed to the scheme, which will create a rape and sexual assault helpline that is open 24/7 and makes so-called virginity tests and procedures illegal in UK clinics claiming to repair hymen in England and Wales. Will see you making.

A recent survey by UN Women revealed that 97 percent of young women in the UK said they had been sexually assaulted, while 80 percent had experienced sexual harassment in public places.

The survey of more than 1,000 women aged 18 to 24 found that sexual harassment included groping, stalking, and engaging in sexual activity.

Previous research by Plan International UK found that one in three girls in this country have been harassed in their school uniform.

While indictments and convictions for sexual assault and rape hit record levels last year – only 1.4 per cent of 55,130 rape cases registered by police as of March 2020 resulted in prosecution, according to government data.

Sophia, who did not wish to have her surname used, said, “I have experienced many forms of public sexual harassment, including being stalked, groped and yelled at.”

The 26-year-old, who is from London, said she starts walking much faster if she is in a quiet area and hears footsteps nearby – adding that she always carries a large bag containing flat shoes. If she is going out in high heels. “This constant ‘protection work’ is exhausting and the constant harassment makes me feel insecure, violated and powerless,” she adds.


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