Editor: Time to step up and say we won’t accept this any more
How many things do we put up with in our lives because we have just become used to them?
They are such a part of surviving each day that they even stop seeming outrageously wrong and we just carry on as if it is fine.
We should all be embarrassed that there are many Sheffielders who won’t go for a night out in town because they don’t want to be harassed. Those who do brave it know that they are unlikely to get through the evening without some kind of inappropriate comment or touch. It has become something we just accept even though the damage to individuals and society is massive. It starts young. Many of us have witnessed men beeping their car horns at young girls who are clearly still only in their early teens. We train our daughters to smile through it from a completely inappropriate age – yet we do very little to tackle our sons.
I don’t really care whether men want to defend themselves by saying it isn’t all men because the indisputable fact is it is all women.
And so action is needed. Sheffield needs to step up and say we’re not having it here. As cafes, bars and restaurants reopen we need every business and every person, regardless of gender, to show the rest of the country that we can make every Sheffielder feel safe no matter what they wear or where they are – simple.
Today our new campaign is calling for every firm to get in touch and say they want to join. We need to get everyone to see this differently. We need to train bouncers that they will be supported if they kick men out of clubs for things that used to be accepted. We need to ensure waitresses can do their job without shrugging off abuse and understand their bosses will back them if they raise a complaint.
If you think this campaign isn’t necessary, find any boy under the age of ten and try explaining it to them in a way that makes sense.
I told my nine-year-old that we want men to be nice to women – nothing more and nothing less. That childish innocence which just couldn ’t comprehend why we haven’t already got that told me everything I needed to know. The time in now and we can force change together. This has passed down the generations for too long and we don’t need to accept it.