Stand Up – anti-harassment campaign

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On the right, a young girl in a leather jacket, a little scared. On the left side in the background - someone is looking at her

„Stand Up. Oppose harassment in public places!" The city supports the campaign of the Centre for Women's Rights and the L’Oréal Paris brand. A series of workshops have been planned according to the 5D method – how to behave when we see sexual harassment.

Wednesday marks the start of the next scene of the campaign against harassment in public places. Posters are already hanging on the streets of Warsaw.

Kissing and whistling or slapping is not a compliment, it's a primitive sexual harassment. It is time for us all to realize this in the 21st century – says Aldona Machnowska-Góra, the Vice Mayor of Warsaw. – More and more women and men understand this. But even if we wanted to react, to help a woman who's being harassed, we don't know how to do it. The campaign "Stand up. Against harassment in public places " is to contribute to a change in public awareness on this issue.

Silent majority

In Poland, 84 percent of women experienced sexual violence in public space (once or many times). Only in 41 percent of cases someone showed support for them. As many as 86 percent of people who witness harassment don't know how to react in such situations.

This was shown by Ipsos' survey conducted in 2021 for the L’Oréal Paris brand. The brand, together with the Centre for Women's Rights foundation, is now launching the social campaign "Stand Up. Oppose harassment in public places. " The Mayor of the Capital City of Warsaw became the honorary patron of the campaign.

There is still little knowledge that sexual harassment is not just physical assault. It's also attacks, barring somebody's path, licking one's lips , kissing at the sight of a girl walking by. It's brushing against her on the bus, making sexual gestures in front of her. These are also locker-room jokes about her appearance or dress. It is the sharing of vulgar or pornographic content, as well as the repeated putting sexual proposals – explains Urszula Nowakowska, the President of the Foundation of the Centre for Women's Rights, a member of the Warsaw Women's Council. - This verbal and non-verbal aggression is still socially accepted, and women often don't have the courage to protest.

In general perception, many behaviors bearing the stamp of harassment  are culturally acceptable or disregarded: "be glad stupid girl, after all, it was a compliment". 75 percent of the respondents blame the women themselves: "why she dressed like that", "why she went there after dark", "why she drank alcohol", "she probably wanted it, if she didn't react". Also, many women think: "it's my fault, I obviously provoked".

Ipsos survey shows that only in 41 percent of cases witnesses reacted to molesting women. And as many as 79 percent of women said that such a reaction would be an important support for them. But as many as 86 percent of us would not know how to react.

The 5D method

As part of the "Stand Up. Oppose harassment in public spaces” campaign, The Centre for Women's Rights is planning a series of training courses according to 5D method.

1. Deconcentrate – stop the incident by distracting attention. It could be dropping the keys, asking for directions, anything that can put the perpetrator of harassment off his stride.

2. Come along others – e.g. a bus driver, a restaurant manager, a school headmaster. And in case of need, call 112.

3. Document, that is record the incident. This may be material proof, but it cannot, of course, be disseminated without the victim's consent.

4. Give support to the victim of harassment, if not at the time of the incident, then after the fact.

5. Get a word in edgeways. It means to react directly: to turn to the perpetrator of harassment and say we do not accept his behaviour. However, this may lead to aggression against us. A strong but short reaction works better without locking horns with the other person.

The Centre for Women's Rights wants to conduct 5D method training courses in schools, universities, offices, public institutions, as well as in cafes and bars throughout Poland. The plan is to train tens of thousands of people.

You can also get familiar with the 5D rules yourself – on the campaign website.

There are women who suffer from anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of assault. They quit their jobs to avoid unwanted behaviour, not to get on an empty train at night. It is high time to realise the problem and start to counteract it – concludes Urszula Nowakowska from the Centre for Women's Rights.

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