Call for wolf-whis­tle on-the-spot fines

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - CH­ERYL PEEBLES

A law to crim­i­nalise wolf-whistling has been de­manded by a Fife group fight­ing the un­der­min­ing of women in so­ci­ety.

Women To­gether in Fife wants the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to in­tro­duce new leg­is­la­tion against the sex­ual ha­rass­ment of women in the street.

It has sug­gested on-the-spot fines should be is­sued to men who flouted the law, which would also cover mak­ing lewd com­ments.

Group co-founder Marie Pen­man praised the gov­ern­ment’s plans to ex­plore ways to end the “nor­mal­i­sa­tion” of ha­rass­ment in Scot­land but said more needs to be done to com­bat the way women are treated in pub­lic by men.

The new group protested against the open­ing of a strip club in Kirk­caldy last month.

Ms Pen­man said: “The women at our meet­ing ad­mit­ted that they had be­come so ac­cus­tomed to be­ing shouted, whis­tled or jeered at by men in pub­lic that they now just ac­cept it as part of nor­mal life.

“What a sad in­dict­ment of so­ci­ety that is.

“One woman told us she had been walk­ing along the street in broad day­light re­cently when a man walked past and told her she had a ‘nice ar**’.

“She was so an­noyed, she shouted at him and he shuf­fled off, em­bar­rassed.

“But re­ally, why should women have to put up with this type of non­sense in a mod­ern Scot­land?”

Ev­ery woman at the meet­ing ad­mit­ted they had ex­pe­ri­enced some form of sex­ual ha­rass­ment in a pub­lic place, Ms Pen­man said.

In the UK there is no spe­cific crime of sex­ual ha­rass­ment and the group said leg­is­la­tion such as ex­ists in France, where on-the-spot fines can be is­sued to men who ha­rass women in pub­lic places, should be mir­rored in Scot­land.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment re­cently pub­lished a con­sul­ta­tion doc­u­ment en­ti­tled One Scot­land: Hate Has No Name Here, and is seek­ing feed­back from the pub­lic on changes to Scot­tish law. Pos­si­ble op­tions in­clude clas­si­fi­ca­tion of ha­rass­ment of women as a hate crime or the cre­ation of a new stand­alone law of misog­y­nis­tic ha­rass­ment.

The group’s next meet­ing is in Betty Ni­col’s pub, High Street, Kirk­caldy, on De­cem­ber 12 at 7pm. See com­ment on page 30

Pic­ture: Kim Cess­ford.

Thurs­day in Black silent vigil to sup­port the right of women to live with­out fear of vi­o­lence, with front, Elaine Cameron, of St John’s Kirk and Perth and Kin­ross Vi­o­lence Against Women Part­ner­ship.

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