By Joshua Robinson –
A new campaign launched on the 19th September aims to tackle everyday harassment and inappropriate male behaviour towards women and girls.
The “Just Don’t” campaign is the latest step in the Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin’s fight to improve the safety of women and girls, alongside partners across the region.
Shocking research has shown that 86% of young women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment in public and the Mayor is urging everybody in the region to be an ally, step up, call it out, and help stop it.
The campaign, being launched during Violence Against Women and Girls Week of Action, is centred around a powerful video which shows men and boys making excuses for inappropriate behaviour and harassment in everyday situations.
This escalates to a chilling finale where a male perpetrator makes a threat about knowing where a young woman lives.
West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin said: “The fact that we, as women and girls, have to face constant harassment and abuse in our everyday lives is appalling, but sadly not surprising.”
“This isn’t about blame — men and boys have a key role to play in helping us end this behaviour. This is about encouraging them as allies to see the problem and empowering them to help us by stepping up and calling it out.”
“Things must change. Our message in this campaign is that it’s not banter, it’s not harmless, and it’s not OK — so just don’t. I’m urging everybody to join us in this fight to tackle inappropriate behaviour towards women and girls.”
The campaign was developed following research and testing with focus groups, which found men were frequently unaware of the issues women face all too often.
The key message is “Just Don’t”, with the video calling on men and boys to reflect on their own behaviour as well as that of their friends and family.
Behind the 86% figure are real people.
Women from West Yorkshire have talked about their concerns and experiences.
One young woman said:
“I’d have been at the police station weekly, or sometimes daily, if I’d reported every time I’ve been groped, followed etc.”
“Over the years I’ve [been] grabbed, [had] comments made a thousand times when in bars and clubs.”
And a third told us:
“[I’ve been] trapped in a window seat on the bus by men who deliberately sit next to me rather than take one of many empty double seats. Usually have to get off the bus at a different stop and go into a shop to make sure they’re not following me.”
Det Ch Supt Lee Berry, Director of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership, which is supporting the campaign, said: “This campaign highlights the shocking extent of harassment and intimidation that women and girls endure on a daily basis.”
“Collectively we need to be the difference, it starts and stops with the behaviour and attitude of men and boys.”
“By working together, understanding the impact and setting the expectations, we can bring about the change needed.”
To find out more about the campaign and how you can help to improve the safety of women and girls, visit www.just-dont.co.uk.