‘Are you okay?’ could go a long way to tackling street harassment
Street harassment is on the rise and that is partly down to our culture of acceptance and tolerance of it. Crimes and harmful behaviours such as public sexual harassment and hate crime (including disability hate crime) are significantly under-reported. A key factor for this is the everyday nature of these crimes and incidents and the fact that they are deeply ingrained in our culture.
Yet no matter how serious the incidents may be, they pervade the lives of those who experience it relentlessly and are often likely to escalate if not addressed.
Harassment often occurs in residential streets close to home, or in local parks, public transport, shopping centres, pubs, clubs, concerts, sports games.
Neighbourhood Watch is calling for people who witness someone being harassed on the street – whether they are being intimidated or are having offensive gestures or comments made towards them – when it is safe for them to do so, ask the person experiencing it if they are okay.
Those three little words let them know that they stand by them and that street harassment is never okay; it empowers the victim to report it, and sends a message of intolerance towards the crime. In this way we can start to turn that culture of acceptance around.
Sign up to our Community Safety Charter and pledge to take an active stance against harassment. You do not need to be a member of Neighbourhood Watch.
Any organisations can sign up for FREE, including schools, universities, community centres, taxi firms, and public places such as libraries.
Further information is available at: https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/charter
This is the website of the national body for Neighbourhood Watch in England and Wales. It includes the signing-up procedure. Anyone signing up will receive a downloadable copy of the Charter to sign and display in their premises and/or on their website, plus a range of useful information.
If you see it, ask it!