Harassment of women “not inevitable”
Rugby Borough Council is supporting the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
With six in ten women and girls having experienced unwanted attention or harassment in the last year, according to a recent survey, Rugby Borough Council is supporting the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women today (25 November).
Cllr Derek Poole, Deputy Leader of Rugby Borough Council and portfolio holder for Regulation and Safety, said: “Violence and harassment of women and girls is not inevitable and can be eliminated if men change their behaviour.
“This day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women we will be issuing some of the United Nations messages on these themes, and especially on making sure that men and boys know that they are accountable for their actions against women and girls.”
A survey carried out in Spring 2021 found that 61 per cent of respondents had experienced unwanted attention or harassment in a public place in Rugby, such as a street, park or footpath. 75 per cent of respondents were on their own at the time. Incidents took place at all times of the day and night, with the most incidents reported between 2 and 4pm, between 6 and 8pm, and between 12noon and 2pm.
Cllr Emma Crane, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for Communities and Homes, Digital and Communications, said: “The #MeToo movement, the Everyone's Invited campaign and the public response to the murder of Sarah Everard has brought more attention to the issue of sexual violence, harassment and intimidation of women and girls than ever before, but much more still needs to be done to change the behaviour of some men and boys.
“Women and girls around the world continue to suffer from unacceptable violence, harassment and abuse - it's time that we all take action to put an end to this.
We should all be able to feel safe whilst walking home at night and free from harassment whilst going about our daily lives and I welcome this UN campaign and the debate that I hope it provokes.”
To help increase safe use of parks and open spaces, solar lighting is today being installed in Caldecott Park and in Rokeby Open Space.
Cllr Poole added: “Regrettably, we know that there will always be some men and boys who will not get the message, so we also need to believe survivors and make our streets places where women and girls feel safer.
“We hope that this new solar lighting will help them to feel safer and give women and girls more choice about where they go and when.”
The solar lights, which have “bat hats” to protect bats from the harmful effects of lighting, will be installed in more locations as part of the council’s Park Connector Network of footpaths and cycleways.
The UN messages on eliminating violence against women will be issued on the council’s social media accounts.