Grazia has announced it has partnered with actress Emily Atack, Maria Miller MP and Jess Phillips MP to make the sending of unsolicited explicit images illegal in the UK. With the Online Safety Bill due to be published by the Government later this year, Grazia has launched a new petition to ensure that ‘cyberflashing’ is included in the new legislation and women are protected.
Recent YouGov research found that close to half of female Millennials (46%) have been sent a photo of a penis, with women being more likely to have received one the younger they are (53% of 18-24-year-olds compared to 36% of 31-36-year-olds). Of those women who have been sent a d*ck pic, nine in 10 (89%) have received one without having asked for it, meaning that 41% of all Millennial women have been sent an unsolicited photo of a man’s private parts.
Despite these shocking statistics, there are no current laws around cyberflashing – it is not a criminal act and the women who are targeted have little control over the content they receive.
Hattie Brett, Editor of Grazia said: “We believe it’s time to reframe the conversation about cyberflashing. Our readers have told us that receiving unsolicited explicit images makes them feel vulnerable and that currently there’s little protection. Now that we live our lives online, legislation needs to catch up. Indecent exposure in a physical space is a sexual offence; so cyberflashing should be illegal too. Please add your voice to this campaign, to help women feel safer online.”
Actress Emily Atack, who told Grazia that she receives hundreds of sexually charged messages every day, said: “What fascinates me is that if you walk out in the street and someone flashes you, they will probably be arrested, yet when you receive a d*ck pic you haven’t asked for, let’s face it, an irksome conversation with the police is likely to become a laborious task that will amount to nothing. This is why I am, along with Grazia, calling for the Government to criminalise cyberflashing.”
Maria Miller MP added: “At the moment it isn’t recognised in the law and it should be seen as a sex offence, which is one of the most serious forms of offences. But that’s only the start, because we also need to educate people that it would be against the law, and that will help start to change the culture.”
This initiative is the latest campaign Grazia has launched to help change the law around important issues that are important to its readers. Earlier this year, Grazia launched a petition around childcare funding and affordability in the UK which, having gained 100,000 signatures in just one week, is heading to Parliament for debate soon.
Sign the petition now at change.org/make-cyberflashing-illegal and find out more in the current issue of Grazia, published Tuesday 29th June.
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