Fife group’s call for on the spot fines for men who sexually harass women in street

Marie Penman from WTF (Women Together In Fife)
Marie Penman from WTF (Women Together In Fife)

A new women’s support group launched in Kirkcaldy has called for on the spot fines for men who sexually harass women in the street.

Women Together In Fife (WTF) has called on the Scottish Government to introduce new laws in a bid to change behaviours – and put an end to cat-calling, wolf whistles and jeers.

It said it was “a sad indictment of society” that women had to put up with such behaviour, and said possible solutions could be making harassment of women a hate crime, or a new stand alone law of misogyny, meaning hatred or dislike of women.

The proposals came out of a discussion at this week’s WTF meeting.

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Marie Penman, co-founder, feels that more needs to be done to combat the way women are treated by men in public:

‘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 arse’. 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?’

The group said it “firmly supported” plans by the government to look into ways to stop the ‘normalisation’ of harassment in Scotland.

As it stands in the UK, there is no specific crime of sexual harassment, despite 68 per cent of women admitting that they have been a victim of this type of behaviour.

During an in-depth discussion at its recent meeting, it emerged that every single woman present, regardless of age, had experienced some form of sexual harassment in a public place.

The group noted that France had passed new legislation this year to issue on-the-spot fines to men who harass women in public places, and agreed this would be “a welcome addition to the Scottish system.”

The next meeting of Women Together in Fife, to include pre-Christmas drinks, is on Wednesday, December 12 at 7.00 pm in the back room of Betty Nicol’s pub on Kirkcaldy High Street. All women are welcome and attend.