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Our Streets Now: Why I’m Campaigning Against Public Sexual Harassment at UoN

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

Public Sexual Harassment (PSH) is the most common form of gender-based violence and has been experienced by two-thirds of girls (Plan International UK, 2018), like so many others, I have been sexualised and abused in public more times than I could count. This began when I was around 12 years old, but it has never become easier to deal with. Moving to Nottingham, and especially moving into Lenton in my second year, these experiences have become far more frequent – now happening multiple times a week and sometimes daily. PSH is so normalised, especially at university, and it affects the majority of women and non-binary students, with 84% of students subjected to this form of harassment (OSN, 2020) … but this is not normal. 


Students deserve to access education without experiencing sexual objectification. We are students, not objects.




Our Streets Now (OSN) is a campaign demanding an end to Public Sexual Harassment in the UK through cultural and legislative change. OSN began with a petition to make PSH a criminal offence, which has since been signed by over 200,000 people. Then, on 22nd November 2020, OSN went into official partnership with global children’s charity Plan International UK to call on Parliament to make PSH a specific criminal offence, meeting with the Home Secretary on 4th February 2021 to discuss this. #CrimeNotCompliment. On 2nd September 2020, OSN launched Our Schools Now, the campaign to include PSH as part of PSHE/RSE lessons in schools. Now, we are launching the Higher Education campaign, #StudentsNotObjects, calling for institutions to take responsibility for the PSH affecting their students and ensure the safety of the entire student body through meaningful action.



“PSH isn’t that deep, you’re overreacting”


The thousands of testimonies collected by OSN reveal the destructive effects of PSH on victims and testimonies collected from UoN students so far are no different. The constant fear and anxiety caused by PSH pervade all aspects of student life, impacting our mental and physical health and reducing academic performance. Young women who experience sexism are 5 times more likely to suffer from clinical depression (Young Women’s Trust, 2019) and the effects of experiencing PSH should not be underestimated. 


When asked how PSH made them feel, the most common responses from UoN students were: “unsafe”, “vulnerable”, “degraded”, “anxious” and “angry”. With many noting that they felt “ashamed”, revealing the implications of the victim-blaming narratives promoted by society and upheld by places of education. 42% of girls tell no one they have been harassed, which is also indicative of the shame and stigma which still surrounds PSH (Plan International UK, 2018). 


PSH at Uni


Places of education have the opportunity to generate change by committing to tackle PSH and encouraging young people to speak up. 72% of students did not know or were unsure about where to report or seek support services for PSH at their institutions (OSN, 2020). This must change. 


What can you do to help?





  • Educate yourself on PSH – a resource pack can be found here www.ourstreetsnow.org/higher-education

  • Stop normalising these experiences and enforcing victim-blaming narratives

  • Educate yourself on how to be a better ally and find out how you can help make women and non-binary people feel safer in public, especially if you are someone who doesn’t experience PSH


You can find more testimonies from UoN students on our Instagram, @ourstreetsnow_uon


If you would like to submit your own (anonymous) testimony, you can do so via this link: https://forms.gle/tGRczi5zL8E9rLuW8 


CC and Blogger for Her Campus Nottingham. 3rd Year English Student.