Nottingham Post: Lace Market pavements are chalked with slogans for the launch of street harassment campaign

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CAMPAIGNERS took to the streets to chalk powerful slogans on to the pavement to raise awareness of street harassment.

The Lace Market was shrouded with messages including ‘I’m not a sexual object’ and ‘I’m dancing! Don’t grope me!’ this weekend.

The organised chalk walk was in celebration of the start of the new Nottingham branch of Hollaback! – an international organisation dedicated to ending street harassment.

International research has shown that 70-99 per cent of women experience street harassment in their lives, from sexually explicit comments and gestures to groping, being followed and violent assaults.

The Nottingham team of local community leaders aim to end this in and around the city with events, research and the launch of their new blog, Nottingham.ihollaback.org.

Site leader is Rose Ashurst, of Sneinton, who said that she wants the group to demonstrate how it can be stopped from happening to yourself and others. Ms Ashurst said: “If you have experienced street harassment yourself it’s very personal, and it’s a gateway into looking at gender equality. It’s not a compliment and it’s not a joke.

“Hollaback was launched in New York in 2005 and it’s taken almost 10 years to get here. The reason I started it in Nottingham is because I went out on a night out and was dancing.

“Someone groped me and I asked them what they were doing, but they continued to make it an issue. I don’t want other people to experience that.”

The weekend launch also saw live art demonstrations from local artists, a pop-up feminist library and workshops on street harassment and healthy relationships. Women’s Aid worker Sarah Camplin, of Stapleford, was at the launch to run a workshop on domestic violence. “Today is my first outing with Hollaback! It looks like it’s gone really well and a lot of younger people are getting involved,” she said.

“I hope that people can go away from my workshop today and be able to know what is a healthy relationship and identify it in their lives.”

Student Paige Hartley popped along to discover more. The 21-year-old, of the city centre, said: “Street harassment is everywhere and I have definitely found there is a lot of it in Nottingham, especially when you’re on a night out. It’s good to see that there’s something like this, it’s really helpful for others.”

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