Thank the Lords
It’s taken a long time but the fight to recognise upskirting as a crime is finally seeing success. Today, a bill was passed that means anyone caught filming or taking pictures of a woman’s crotch could face up to two years in jail.
After being targeted at a festival and realising there would be no punishment for the perpetrator, 26-year-old Gina Martin has been campaigning to bring in new legislation. Today she told the BBC that the fact the House of Lords had finally backed the bill was “politics and society at its best”.
Though Scotland has had the legislation for almost a decade, there’s been a few roadblocks in Westminster over the last 18 months. The Voyeurism (Offences) Bill which moved to protect people from non-consensual pictures of their genitals being taken in public was blocked by a Tory MP named Christopher Chope. His shocking decision was met with cries of “shame” in the House of Commons. Afterwards, his MP office door was decorated with knickers.
However, after the bill was approved in the House of Lords, Gina felt like her drawn out campaign was worth it. “I wanted to change this for everyone because the least we deserve is to be able to wear what we want without non-consensual photos being taken of us,” she explained.
At the time she told Dazed of how she has been standing waiting for The Killers at the British Summertime Festival in Hyde Park when two men crept up behind her and her sister offering them chips.
“They started chatting, but over the next half hour or so they became really invasive, asking us personal questions and standing way too close, rubbing up against my leg,” she recalled. She then saw that one of them had Whatsapp open and on the screen was a photo of a woman’s crotch.
“WhatsApp was open, and on the screen was a photo of a woman’s crotch. As I noticed the thin strip of underwear, the pink mini skirt, the top of the snakeskin boots – I suddenly knew what I was looking at. It was a picture of me, under my skirt.”
After 18 months, 50,000 signatures, and several stumbling blocks, women in the UK have finally won the fight against upskirting.