Wolf whistling – is it ‘just a bit of fun’? Or could it be misogynistic? Or even a criminal offence?
In July Nottinghamshire Police said wolf whistling could be a hate crime. They argued that their comments came in response to the scale of sexist abuse that women face on a daily basis.
A single wolf whistle wouldn’t necessarily constitute a criminal offence. But if it was part of a pattern of behaviour that involved other intimidating behaviour such as stalking and online harassment, the persecutor could be arrested and prosecuted.
Celebrities are divided on the matter.
“If a man whistles at you, do not respond. You are a lady, not a dog” says Adele. While Joanna Lumley says “People are sensitive flowers, offended by everything. Wolf-whistlers are saying ‘Cor, you look all right darlin’.’ What’s wrong with that?”
Whatever your stance on wolf whistling, sexual harassment towards women is still an issue that cannot be ignored. The group End Violence Against Women found that a huge, but not unbelievable, 85% of women aged 18-24 had experienced unwanted sexual attention. And 45% had experienced sexual touching.
At this point The National Police Chiefs Council says there are currently no plans for other forces to follow Nottinghamshire.
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