Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has thrown his support behind Respect Women’s first campaign which urges members of the public to “call out” sexual harassment.
In a video featuring a male passenger staring intently at a female commuter who becomes visibly uncomfortable under his gaze, another man wrestles with his own contradictory thoughts about whether to intervene.
Andrews shared the clip on social media saying “this video will make you uncomfortable” and called on “blokes to stop harassing women, and start respecting women.”
The campaign, ‘Respect Women: Call it out — active bystander’, was launched on Sunday and hopes to encourage bystander action in public spaces. The latest data from the Crime Statistics Agency showed that between 2015-2016 and 2017-2018 the number of reported sexual offences at train stations had jumped by 70 per cent.
“It’s easy to tune out during rush hour. But it’s good to stay present and be aware of other commuters,” the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams said.
“We all have a role to play in calling out sexual harassment.”
The Victorian campaign coincided with the release of Plan International’s report findings into sexual harassment.
The survey of 750 women found catcalling is one of the most common forms of street harassment in Delhi, Kampala, Lima, Madrid and Sydney.
Sydney survey shows sexual harassment hotspots
‘Unsafe in the City’, found the three locations in Sydney with the highest concentration of sexual harassment were all within the CBD and busy commercial areas.
The research undertaken between April and June 2018 of harassment in Sydney suggested 82 percent occurred on the street, 14 per cent on public transport and nine percent in parks and shops.
Some 43 per cent of Sydney women surveyed were aged between 21 and 25, while 26 per cent were between 16 and 20.
One 18-year-old Sydney woman said she was catcalled by construction workers on her way to a job interview.
Most of the reported harassment happened in the afternoon and evening.
A 23-year-old woman claimed she was followed by two men in a car while she was returning from a party.
“I ran and hid in someone’s front yard. Within one minute the car returned, slowly doing laps of the street. They eventually drove off and I ran home terrified,” she said in the report.
Another woman, 19, said she ended up hiding in a shop with a friend after men in a van started following them and yelling at them from the car.
Of the women surveyed, five per cent revealed they were physically assaulted.
“Ass grabbed under my skirt by one guy whilst walking past a group of males on my way home. His friends defended him when I got in his face,” a 23-year-old woman said.
Plan International Australia chief executive Susanne Legena says most harassment in Sydney involves groups of men yelling out from vehicles.
“Men and boys are pushing girls and women out of public spaces and denying them their right to freedom of movement with sexist, often vicious behaviour,” she said in the report released on Tuesday.
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