We must do better than this

This week the ABC, Sydney Morning Herald and other media outlets carried a story posted by 16 year old Lauren Lancaster about the harassment she’s faced on the streets of Sydney for most of her teenage life.

Here is her story about being physically harassed and threatened in public. She writes: “It is an unfortunate truth that nearly every young woman has experienced street harassment. Whether it’s hollering, being followed, brushed up against on public transport, or even told to get in a car, women are routinely made to feel unsafe in public spaces.”

Plan International’s Sexism in the City report, released this week, surveyed 500 young women in Sydney. It found that street harassment most commonly begins between ages 11 and 15. More than 80 percent of respondents say they have experienced cat-calling on the streets, and 30 percent have had their path blocked or been touched inappropriately.

Plan also draws attention to the recent Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Personal Safety Survey of 21,000 women and men. That survey revealed that half of women have been sexually harassed.

Plan International is taking a strong stand in calling out these horrific behaviours in its Free to Be campaign.

As a Director of Plan International Australia, I condemn these harassing and abusive behaviours in the strongest possible terms and join others in calling for a new standard in public conduct grounded in respect and in zero tolerance of abuse and violence.


Dr Brian Babington
CEO Families Australia

23 May 2018