The Weinstein-affair is probably the best contemporary illustration of abuse of power. This and other recent scandals have exposed a staggering number of sexual harassment cases, with victims speaking out against figures of authority.
We have the accusations, the truths, the hastags (#metoo) and it seems now the ears of a public previously reluctant to listen. Based on the fact that around two thirds of UK women have reportedly been sexually harassed, the time is now for action to be taken.
Phrases like “she f*cked her way up to the top” are common examples of victim blaming, a culture which can drive opinion on culpability; a third of people believe women who flirt are partially responsible for being raped.
When considering causes, patriarchies are a common source of modern gender imbalance. In every important field, be it politics, economics or religion, men determine the status quo and as a result, it is men who benefit. Whether it’s sexual violence, sexual and reproductive health, career opportunities, implicit and explicit dress codes, men are freer than women in each and every area.
More than half of UK women (53%) have experienced some form of sexual harassment at work (most admit to not reporting it), in nine out of 10 cases the perpetrator was male. Nearly one in five women said it was their line manager, or someone with direct authority over them. However, this isn’t the whole story; The Equality Act presently covers sexual harassment in the workplace but not outside. A gap in UK legislation shows that sexual harassment is not actually a criminal offence in its own right. This legislation is often portrayed as murky or ambiguous, on the grounds that it’s hard to tell the difference between a bit of banter and a humiliating remark, leaving us without an accurate definition of the types of behaviour that fully quantify sexual harassment.
References available on request
We're proud to donate all profits to Hollaback London.
“We will be using this donation to continue to break the silence around sexual harassment and public intrusions of space - but more importantly we will be pushing for real cultural shifts. Over the last few months there has been a huge swell of women (trans and cis) and non-binary people speaking out about what has happened to them. These voices are so important at pushing the dialogue further, but it is time that we start to challenge perpetrator behaviour. We will use the donation to ensure we are able to put on more bystander intervention workshops, specific workshops with BME women, and continue to find creative ways (working alongside artists and theatres) to stop sexual harassment.”
Thomas Moore (winner)
Event photography by Claire Trosch