Protesters take to the streets to make their views known (image: Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona)

A Nottingham charity has revealed there has been a resistance to accept that sexual harassment is is a reality of 21st century Britain.

It follows a UN survey that concluded that 97% of women in the UK have been sexually harassed.

Equation is a charity that focuses on reducing the impact of domestic abuse, sexual violence and gender inequality.

A spokesman said that in order to start working together as a community to combat this, “it’s important to acknowledge that there is a problem and to name it and say it”.

When asked their reason for not reporting an incident, 55% of women in the survey said it was because they thought it was not serious enough.

Mark Petrovic, chairman of Nottinghamshire Police Federation
Mark Petrovic, chairman of Nottinghamshire Police Federation

Mark Petrovic, chairman of Nottinghamshire Police Federation, said: “I can reassure you that if they’re getting unwarranted attention or things that are causing them great concern, then we want to know about it” and that every case was “treated seriously and we want the best outcome for all the victims”.

 

Mr Petrovic added that the police understood that it can be “extremely difficult” for a victim to come forward, but hoped that people were aware that “all officers are specialist trained” and had “confidence in the judicial system”.

But he said it was important to remember that “every case is different” and so he urged people to report what had happened “as early as possible”.

The survey also concluded that sexual harassment was experienced and reported more by younger women. Eighty per cent of women between 18 and 34 years old had been sexually harassed alongside 93% of full-time students.

Nottingham Trent University’s Student Support Service has a specific sexual violence department. Staff member Katrina Daoud said the service was there for anyone whether “they experienced something before they were at university and want support, or they experienced something last night”.

Ms Daoud insisted that no matter was too small as “somebody can be just as affected by something like sexual harassment as they can by a rape, all things can be very harmful so that’s why the services can be quite broad”.

Protesters making their views known in London (image: Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona)

She explained that the support service was “all about the student and their need” and “the student might not know what they want initially or at all, so it may just be a conversation and then a check-in, in a couple of weeks”.

Ms Daoud said that if the student wanted to report the incident to the police they offered clarity over the process and if they were harassed or assaulted by a fellow university student, they could also help the student report formally to the university.

Ms Daoud said they could also help make adjustments to their academic course, accommodation or work schedule.

“The main benefit is that the student does not have to disclose all across the university, so they can disclose to us one time and then we will do all the work for them so they’re not having to constantly share their story.”