CRY FOR HELP
IF YOU’RE GROPED, COPS NEED YOU TO ...
IF A man gropes you or indecently assaults you in a public place, you have to instantly scream and draw attention — or he will probably get away with it.
This is the warning from police after the case of a young woman who told police she was groped, then punched when she complained. Her attacker was convicted of hitting her but an indecent assault charge was dropped due to a lack of witnesses.
Sex Crimes Squad Commander Linda Howlett said women should immediately alert people around them, to create witnesses and give police a better chance of prosecuting.
Lilly Perrott told The Sunday Telegraph about the incident at the Newtown Festival last year. She had been enjoying a night out with her boyfriend when she was allegedly groped by a drunk stranger.
“We were just about to leave when I felt this hand go up the back of my dress and grab me on the (buttocks),” Ms Perrott, 24, said.
“I turned around and said: ‘What do you think you’re doing, you can’t touch women like that’.
“I’d already stopped talking and had just started to turn my head to walk away. That’s when I felt a massive blow to my face.”
Her nose and eye socket were fractured. A 27-year-old man was arrested shortly afterwards in front of the Newtown Police Station and several people testified in court that they had witnessed him punch Ms Perrott in the face — but they had not seen him grope Ms Perrott.
The court was told of the groping allegations during his assault trial.
Following his assault conviction last week, Ms Perrott posted an image on Instagram of her bruised and swollen face along with a message of defiance, which went viral and received more than 60,000 likes.
“Don’t ever try grabbing or assaulting a woman because we’ll grab you by your metaphorical balls and squeeze you right back twice as hard,” the post read.
Ms Perrott said she wanted to tell her story to encourage other women to speak out against unwanted sexual contact and violence, regardless of the circumstances.
“I was overwhelmed by the response my post had,” she said. “To have that blow up on the internet was huge but it was also heartbreaking because it just made it so much more clear to me that I am one in a million who actually got justice.
“A lot of men are pretty ignorant about what they can or can’t do when it comes to respecting women. I hope other women can find the support and use the legal system to help them speak up.”
Detective Superintendent Howlett said anyone touched inappropriately in public or otherwise should “remove themselves from the situation” and immediately notify security, venue staff or police.
“There is no excuse for this type of behaviour and it won’t be tolerated at any time,” Det-Supt Howlett said.
“Many people aren’t aware that any form of unwanted sexual contact is sexual violence and it’s a crime. The key word is unwanted; it can include touching through to sexual assault.
“Our priority is always the health and wellbeing of victims, but it’s only when we know what’s happening that we can help.”
Assault victim Lilly Perrott.