Narrative Story about Sexual Harassment

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For my written task, I decided to focus on part 2 – Mass media and Communication- in the subtopic of Gender, sexism, and discrimination. The learning outcome addressed is to Show an awareness of the potential for an educational, political, or ideological influence of the media. I wrote a letter to the editor about a government-led campaign created in 2013 in London. It was published in The Guardian- a left-party British newspaper- addressed to The British Transport Police. It was written by Sarah Coleman, a British young woman who was a victim of sexual harassment in public transport in London. She is writing a critique about this campaign, Report It to Stop It, and whether it´s improved women’s safety or not. Since it is a letter addressed to the British Police Department, the language used is rather formal, but it still allows readers to empathize and connect to the story. It has the layout and features of a letter, including date, address, signature, etc. Also since it’s been posted in The Guardian, it has the newspaper layout and the newspaper broadsheet standard measures.

The reason why I decided to write about sexual harassment is that it is a day-to-day issue for most women in Great Britain and all over the world. The statistics are appalling and most of the unwanted sexual behaviors go unreported. Sarah Coleman starts the letter by pointing out the statistics recorded in the past year, then she goes on to tell her story. This way she is able to empathise and connect with the readers better. The main audience is British women that have experienced any form of sexual harassment in public transport in London, the letter aims to encourage them to report all these situations to the campaign, to stop this ongoing issue.

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Report It To Stop It

The truth behind a government-led campaign that aims to stop all forms of sexual assault that happen in the public transport of London told from a victim’s point of view

Dear British Transport Police,

As a woman, I am infuriated, disheartened, and discouraged that one in five women is sexually assaulted in the United Kingdom from the age of 16 and saddened by the reality that 28% of the women who used public transport in the past 12 months have experienced unwarranted staring, sexual comments, bodily contact, wolf-whistling, and exposure. However, for a broad range of reasons 90% of these unwanted sexual behaviors on London´s public transport, go unreported. As a human being, I am dismayed by these statistics, shocked and angered to know we are no longer safe on public transport. Women do not feel safe on their way to work; on their way to pick up their children; or simply, on their way about life. This is completely unacceptable.

My name is Sarah Coleman and as a victim of sexual assault myself, I empathize and understand why women would be afraid to speak up and look for help after they have experienced an event like this. There is just one clear answer; we are afraid of people’s reactions. We fear that we might be ignored, that no further measures will be taken against the abuser, or even that it could somehow be blamed on us. I know this sensation; I can still vividly remember how I felt when it happened to me. It was a Friday afternoon about eight months ago, and I was waiting on the platform for the train to go back home from University when I saw a man — he must have been over 40 — profoundly staring at me. At first, I did not pay attention, I felt uncomfortable but told myself that it was all in my mind, that I was just being paranoid. Once I was already on the train, I saw him walking towards me. I was holding onto the strap with one of my hands and my mobile with the other. I thought he might want to steal it, so I immediately put it away, hoping it would make things better and he would walk away. However, that did not stop him, and it wasn’t until he was standing right behind me that I realized what was going on. I became a victim of sexual assault. He was pushing his groin against my body. I could feel his erection growing. Everything stopped for a moment. I have never been someone quiet, but somehow I was unable to speak, I couldn’t stop him.

I got off the train at the following station, even though it was not my intended destination. I just needed to escape from him, from that situation. Once I was off the train, I was still in shock. I couldn’t believe what just happened. I started wandering around the train station for a while, thinking about what to do next. I knew that reporting it was the best thing I could do. But I was afraid I wouldn’t be heard. I remember I had seen an advertisement for this campaign — Report it to stop it — that encouraged women to report any form of sexual assault that happened in public transport in London. I cleared my mind, gathered all the courage I had in me, and sought help. I was surprised about how understanding your police officers were and how well they managed the situation. They listened to me and believed what I said. Now, thanks to the prompt response and to the effectiveness of this campaign, my abuser was imprisoned shortly after I reported it.

Report it to Stop It is not just another unrealistic advertisement campaign that you see on the internet nowadays. It is a well-organized government initiative that aims to prevent, stop and report all sorts of sexual harassment that happen in the public transport of London. The police officers that work at the campaign are open-minded and willing to listen to what you have to say, in order to help you. They have been specially trained to deal with these situations optimally. In a way that we —the victims— feel confident enough to tell the happenings without feeling ashamed or guilty for it.

I will always be thankful to the British Transport Police and especially to the Report It to Stop It police officers for doing justice to my case and letting me close a chapter of my life once I knew my aggressor had been imprisoned. The goals that this government campaign has been achieving over time, are extremely important to grant safety and protection to women in public transport.

I wouldn’t hesitate to report any other unwanted sexual behavior that happened either to me or to someone else in public transport. Because now, as a survivor of sexual assault and thanks to the help of the Report It to Stop It campaign, I know that it is not our fault and that there are people willing to listen to us and able to help do us justice, eventually, put a stop to all forms of sexual harassment.

I would profoundly encourage every woman who has ever, in any form, been a target or victim of sexual assault, in the public transport of London, to report it. No matter how long ago. No matter how small the harassment could have been seen at the time, we need to report it and stop looking at sexual harassment as a normal and acceptable act of crime. We, as women, have to take control over our lives and recognize that, just as men, we also have a right to feel safe in our way of life.

Yours sincerely, Sarah Coleman.

Bibliography:

    • URL: https://uwpd.wisc.edu/news/an-open-letter-to-sexual-assault-survivors/
        • Website Title: UWPD UW Madison
        • Article Title: Newsroom
        • Date Accessed: January 09, 2019
    • URL: https://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/2012-03/SAAM_2012_Sample-letter-to-the-editor.pdf
        • Website Title: Nsvrc.org
    • URL: https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/safety/report-it-to-stop-it
        • Website title: Transport for London
        • Author: Transport Matters
        • Article title: Report it to Stop it
        • Website title: Btp. police. UK
    • URL:http://www.btp.police.uk/about_us/our_campaigns/report_it_to_stop_it.aspx
        • Article title: This Campaign Is Encouraging Women to 'Report It to Stop It
        • Website title: Mic.com
    • URL: https://mic.com/articles/115698/this-campaign-is-encouraging-women-to-report-it-to-stop-it#.9D3Zh4CRg
        • Article title: Report It To Stop It - Sarah's Story
        • Website title: YouTube
    • URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dAcHXPDbto
        • Article title: Every report builds a Picture – Report it to Stop It
        • Website title: YouTube
    • URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_IJrpzntdA
        • Article title: How to Write an Effective Letter to Your Policy Maker
        • Website title: Union of Concerned Scientists
    • URL: https://www.ucsusa.org/action/writing-letters.html#.XDYzM1xKi03
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Narrative Story about Sexual Harassment. (2023, October 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/narrative-story-about-sexual-harassment/
“Narrative Story about Sexual Harassment.” Edubirdie, 09 Oct. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/narrative-story-about-sexual-harassment/
Narrative Story about Sexual Harassment. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/narrative-story-about-sexual-harassment/> [Accessed 23 Jul. 2024].
Narrative Story about Sexual Harassment [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Oct 09 [cited 2024 Jul 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/narrative-story-about-sexual-harassment/
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