BY CALUM FRASER
A victim of sexual harassment has welcomed ministers’ decision to review hate crime laws amid calls to include misogyny in the legislation.
Paulina Tamborrel, who is a community organiser in Greenwich for Citizens UK, led a group of schoolchildren to deliver a letter to police chiefs in Lewisham calling on them to record incidents of misogyny – an ingrained prejudice against women – a hate crime in July.
Labour MP Stella Creasy campaigned to add an amendment to the upskirting bill, debated last week in Parliament, that would recognise misogyny as an aggravating factor if it motivated an attack.
MPs rejected her call but have set up a review of hate crime legislation instead. Ms Tamborrel, who brings school children together to talk about sexual harassment, said: “The review is an amazing and responsible response from Parliament. It allow us to explore what misogyny as hate crime will be.
“Every woman has had some sort of experience of violence. Every single conversation we have, every single group meeting, a new girl comes forward. I have been repeatedly harassed, and experienced violence and discrimination.”
A hate crime is when the perpetrator is motivated by or demonstrates hostility towards the victim’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity, according to the Crime Prosecution Service.
Research carried-out by End Violence Against Women, a coalition of gender equality campaigners, found that 85 per cent of young women, and 45 per cent of women in the UK, have been sexually harassed in public.
But only one in 10 have received help after these incidents. Ms Tamborrel, 27, said: “I was on my way home waiting for the 188 bus from North Greenwich.
Two guys started talking to me. I tried to brush them off and they became verbally aggressive.
I got on the bus and they sat right behind me and started insulting me and whispering nasty comments. Sexually provocative comments and insults. It was about a 20-minute bus ride.
I was scared to get off bus and walk when it came to my stop. “But, luckily, another guy saw what was happening and he offered to walk me home. He only walked me a little of the way, just to put them off.
I sprinted to my front door. It was quite scary at that time. They weren’t doing anything physical, but I felt threatened.”
Campaigners want women to be encouraged to call the police when they experience this kind of incident.
The Greenwich branch of Citizens UK works with young boys and girls from Ravensbourne University, St Paul’s Academy, Fox Field primary school and Halley Academy.
Ms Tamborrel said: “We’re not trying to make wolf whistling a crime.
What we want is the recognition and recording of misogynistic behaviours as the serious incidents they are.
We need to have these conversations in public. One of the girls had her cleavage photographed on the Tube, she’s 16. She felt violated, but didn’t think there was much she could do about it.”
Justice minister Lucy Frazer announced last week that the review into the “coverage and approach of hate crime legislation will include how protected characteristics, including sex and gender characteristics, should be considered by new or existing hate crime law”.
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