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16 Days of Activism: Day 7 - Because it’s not ok to take a picture up someone's skirt

When Gina Martin went to a music festival in July 2017, she wasn’t expecting it to be the launch pad of a political campaign. But while she was waiting for The Killers to come on stage, a man put his phone between her legs and took a picture up her skirt without her knowing. When she realised what he had done she was understandably upset, panicked and outraged, feelings that only got worse when she approached the police who, although sympathetic, told her there was nothing they could do because what had happened was not a crime. It wasn’t voyeurism, because that only relates to images that are taken in private, and it wasn’t outraging public decency because that has to upset someone who saw it happening, not the person it happened to.

Gina posted online about her experience and started a petition demanding a change in the law. Her campaign picked up incredible momentum and in the summer of 2018, a Bill was proposed in Parliament by Wera Hobhouse MP to make upskirting illegal as a sexual offence with a potential sentence for perpetrators of up to two years in prison and being put on the sex offenders register. Crucially, as a sexual offence, victims would be entitled to anonymity in any court proceedings and couldn’t be named in the press. Despite being initially blocked by one Tory MP, the legislation has now passed the Commons stages and is set to become law soon.

The Revenge Porn Helpline fully supports this change in the law and welcomes any steps that confirm the rights of an individual to have control over intimate images of themselves. Because it’s NEVER OK to take pictures of the private parts of someone’s body without their permission. 

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