Posters in Leicester bars urging men to call friends for harassing women
Men are urged to step in and speak out against their friends’ “unacceptable behavior” towards women.
Posters and leaflets urging men to ‘have the conversation when a mate crosses the line’ are being promoted in pubs, bars and other local venues in the local police area as well as on social media sites.
The message is aimed at men between the ages of 18 and 30 with the aim of challenging misogynistic behavior.
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Taglines include, “I just saw a mate call a woman? You’re right, that’s wrong.” And: “I just saw a companion not leave her alone when she said no? You’re right, it’s wrong.”
This is all part of a joint campaign with the Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Leicestershire Police, the Local Violence Reduction Network (VRN) and Leicester City Council.
PCC, Rupert Matthew’s said: “Our research shows that men already feel embarrassed and shamed by other men’s inappropriate behavior towards women – and often feel ‘guilty’ by association.
“We want them to feel confident to take action and not be afraid to report misconduct.”
Funded by the Home Office’s Safer Streets program following the CCP’s successful £550,000 bid, the campaign is part of a wider strategy to reduce violence against women and girls.
The money was also used to make changes to local parks, such as improving visibility and installing CCTV cameras.
Grace Strong, strategic director of Leicestershire and Rutland’s VRN, said she was happy to be part of the campaign which “focuses on the role that men can play”.
“By being active bystanders, men can help by modeling the right behaviors, thereby challenging some of the social norms that have led many women to feel unsafe in public places,” she said.
“I really hope this inspires all men to recognize the critical role they play in preventing violence against women and girls.”
Leicestershire Police developed the campaign with ‘behaviour change experts’, Hitch Marketing, offering three key actions men should take when they see ‘unacceptable behaviour’.
The key messages of the campaign
Be direct – if it’s safe to do so, speak up, tell the abuser that their behavior is not acceptable.
Get help – other friends, police, security guards, bar staff, etc. This can be before or after the incident.
Distract – do something to change the situation to drive the abuser and victim away from each other. When it is safe to do so, follow up with a conversation.
Speaking on behalf of Leicestershire Police, Deputy Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police Julia Debenham said the campaign was “welcome”.
She said: “It’s about taking social responsibility for the safety of others and encouraging men to think about the impact on women and girls and their sense of safety.”
Another successful bid of £250,000 by the City Council would support this work by funding more CCTV in the town center and the training of staff who work in night venues.
Deputy Mayor of the City of Leicester, Councilor Piara Singh Clair, said: “Working together in partnership, we can ensure that the message gets through to all that unacceptable behavior towards women will never be tolerated. “
More information about the campaign can be found here.