BY CALUM FRASER
Protesters are calling on police chiefs to make misogyny and catcalling a hate crime.
Gabriel Emenike, 12, handed a letter to a representative of the Bexley, Greenwich and Lewisham police force outside Lewisham police station, asking them to take action against misogyny.
The Halley Academy pupil is campaigning with Citizens UK, which is mobilising a national effort.
They are lobbying police forces across the country to log any instance of misogyny like catcalling and harassment as hate crimes, in the same way that racism and homophobia is.
Paulina Tamborrel, 26, Greenwich Citizens UK community organiser, said: “What sets our campaign apart is that it tackles the root of the issue.
“Take upskirting for instance. Yes, it is serious, and I’d hate it if it happened to me or somebody I cared for. But upskiriting is only a tiny piece of the whole issue.
“Tackling misogyny as a hate crime is tackling upskirting, but we’re not saying that is the only thing we care about.
“Not everyone can be upskirted. Muslim women for instance do not often wear short skirts and they’re getting harassed. It’s tackling the roots that we’re trying to do.”
A hate crime is when the perpetrator is motivated by or demonstrates hostility towards the victim’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity, according to the Crime Prosecution Service.
Currently five police forces of 46 in England and Wales undertake reporting on misogyny hate crimes, after Nottinghamshire became the first to adopt the policy in 2016.
Research done by End Violence Against Women, a coalition of gender equality campaigners, found that 85 per cent of young women, and 45 per cent of women, have been sexually harassed in public. But only one in 10 have received help after these incidents.
Speaking about how he learned about the campaign, Gabriel said: “I walked into a workshop at school.
“They started to brainstorm ideas, with spider diagrams. I started to get interested.
I heard about this word called misogyny and I went home and researched it. When I found it what it was, I was horrified. So I decided I should help with this, get more involved.
“I had heard about catcalling and harassment. But when I found out that it happened that regularly, I decided, no, no, this has to stop.”
Campaigners would like the National Police Chiefs Council, which is meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, to vote on a motion to ensure all forces report street harassment, online abuse and other acts directed at women because of their gender as hate crimes.
In the letter that Gabriel delivered to police chiefs it said: “Categorising misogyny as a hate crime won’t end violence against women, but if we can challenge the normalisation of these attitudes on our streets and in public life we can challenge violence against women and girls in wider society.
“Recording these incidents also provides a vital evidence base. When police forces treat these incidents seriously, women’s trust in the police increases.”
A Met spokeswoman said: “We have been speaking to other forces about their experiences of the practicalities of recording gender-based hate crime and will use this, along with feedback from our partners, to inform any future changes to MPS policy.”