Britain’s newest political party, the Women’s Equality Party, is encouraging London women to “reclaim the city” by reporting the locations of incidents of sexual assault, harassment and catcalling.
The #WEcount campaign live-maps locations — by postcode, bus stop, Tube station and street name — on an interactive billboard at a city centre location to show how much of an issue unwanted sexual behaviour is in London.
“London’s streets are not safe. WE will show this by live-mapping the locations that women report having experienced catcalling, flashing, verbal abuse, harassment and physical assault,” said Women’s Equality Party leader and London mayoral candidate Sophie Walker. “WE will show that women all over London are affected by these events every day, and that every one of us counts. The prevalence of sexual assault and harassment in our capital shames London. I want us to take back every part of this great city to make it safe for women.”
Women can drop pins on the interactive map at wemap.org, write the locations on their hands and post the picture on Twitter with the hashtag #WEcount or make an anonymous disclosure by emailing WE via their website.
— Catherine Mayer (@catherine_mayer) March 4, 2016
— Alysia Judge (@AlysiaJudge) March 8, 2016
On the interactive map the iconic Google drop pin is transformed into an exclamation mark and leaves the message “It Happened Here.”
The #WEcount campaign includes a film featuring Pavan Amara, who created the “My Body Back” project after being attacked and has helped hundreds of women who have been assaulted to reclaim their lives.
“I think people don’t like to associate [rape] with their streets,” says Amara in the film. “I would say it changed everything and I don’t like to admit that, but it did. Before, your city is just your city and then after, it kind of becomes your city is your city apart from that bit. My hope for London is that you can walk down the street and not be assaulted. I know that sounds like such a basic thing. But we’re not living in that London at the moment.”
According to the latest Met Police statistics, 5,427 rapes were reported in London between January 2015 and January 2016. However the true figure is thought to be much higher because only around 15 percent of people who have experienced sexual violence come forward.
Additionally thousands more women experience groping, harassment and catcalling while there were 70,000 reported incidents of domestic violence.