Posted on 13th August 2018 by Maddy Abela
What is upskirting?
Upskirting is defined as taking photographs under a woman’s skirt or a man’s kilt without their permission. In most cases, the photographs taken capture the underwear, crotch area or even genitialia of the victim. There is no average age of upskirting victims, but there have been reports of victims as young as 10 experiencing upskirting.
Whilst upskirting can happen anywhere, it most commonly occurs at music festivals and crowded places.
ER, GROSS. SURELY THIS IS illegal?
Ok, prepare to be outraged. Upskirting is currently completely legal. If the victim catches someone taken a photograph up their skirt/kilt they can report it to the police and the police will request the photograph is deleted from the perpetrator's phone. However, it can’t go any further than that. The person doing the upskirting cannot be prosecuted- unless you’re in Scotland, where it is illegal.
In some cases, such as if the perpetrator can be charged with sexual assault if they touch the victim during the act of upskirting. But no, upskirting alone, in England is as legal as buying some fries at McDonalds.
ISN'T IT ABOUT FUCKING TIME SOMEONE MADE IT ILLEGAL THEN?
Well now’s time for the good news! A victim of upskirting, Gina Martin, has been bravely and resiliently been campaigning to make upskirting illegal. Go Gina! After experiencing it first-hand at a festival, Gina decided to take a stand and make a positive social impact that will protect countless innocent girls –in particular- from the emotional trauma and distress that upskirting causes.
AH GREAT. wait, so why is it still illegal?
So, we’ve had the good news, now for the not-so-good news. Last month, a bill to criminalise the act of upskirting was blocked by MP Sir Christopher Chope in the House of Commons.
What happens now then?
Gina Martin continues to have an increasing level of support in favour of making upskirting illegal. There is a meeting planned with Gina, her lawyer and Sir Chope to further discuss the legislation. Gina is ‘positive and hopeful that [Sir Christopher Chope] will become a supporter’.
So, what should I do if I experience upskirting?
Firstly, tell someone. Staying in silence will make the emotional distress and shock more intense and harder to deal with.
Secondly, tell the police. Whilst upskirting is technically legal, the police are there to provide support and informing the police could help save other people from being upskirted by the same person. Alternatively, if you don’t want to contact the police, you can visit https://rapecrisis.org.uk/ or call 08088029999 for support.
Written by Maddy Abela