In the light of the #MeToo revelations and campaigns, there has been much debate about the urgent need for law and policy reform to tackle all forms of sexual harassment. My work on sexual violence and image-based sexual abuse links into these broader debates. For example, many forms of sexual harassment – such as so-called ‘groping’ – are also criminal offences. And many examples of making and/or sharing sexual images without consent are forms of sexual harassment.
As part of these public debates, I have participated in the inquiries launched by the UK Parliament’s Select Committee on Women & Equalities. I gave oral evidence before the Committee inquiry into public sexual harassment on how the online world and developing technology is generating new ways of perpetrating the old harms of sexual harassment – such as the sending of unsolicited ‘dick pics’ and the easy use of AI and new apps to alter images/videos to make them sexual – and how the law is piecemeal, out of date and inconsistent. You can watch the oral evidence – and my written evidence is available here. I’ve also blogged about how watching porn in public is a modern form of street and public harassment.
I also submitted written evidence to the inquiry into sexual harassment in the workplace urging employers and policy guidance to take greater steps to recognise that many examples of sexual harassment can constitute criminal offences, and that it is up to victims to decide what action to take in response.
There has been many inspiring examples of women speaking out and organisations campaigning for change and a better world. This includes the excellent fund established in the UK to support those challenging sexual harassment and I was happy to add my name to this call to action launched following a letter in the Guardian.