By Plan International Australia Deputy CEO Susanne Legena
I don’t know who came up with #nowomanever, but I love what it represents: a global groundswell of calling out threatening, harassing behaviour in all of its many forms.
Plan International Australia supports the right of girls to freedom from harassment and to enjoy a safe, happy and independent life anywhere in the world they live.
We recently surveyed 600 young women aged 15 to 19-years-old with Our Watch. One in three actively avoided public places after dark for fear of harassment. One in four said it’s not safe to travel on public transport alone.
With the amount of harassment women cop in public, who can blame them for feeling this way? That doesn’t make it right. In fact it’s very wrong and we know we, as a society, can do better. And it starts with standing up to this behaviour.
Harassment is a global problem but it’s a surprisingly Australian problem for what many would consider a stable, safe, country. Global research conducted by Plan International told us that girls in Nicaragua felt safer on the streets after dark than those in Australia.
Enjoying freedom means not being harassed on the street, or at work, or online, or at home. It means being able to walk where you want without being stopped or whistled at and it means expressing your opinions freely without fear or embarrassment. It means having the right to say no to a date without then being hit with a barrage of abuse.
It seems simple so why are women still receiving this treatment?
That’s why we love that thousands of female voices around the world have united to point out that harassment is never welcome and to send a clear message to those who think it’s okay: leave us alone.
Here are five reasons why #nowomanever is more than just a hashtag: