Madison Vanderberg
August 22, 2018 10:18 am
Gina Martin / twitter.com

Since the invention of smartphones and selfie sticks, women have been forced to contend with another type of sexual harassment: upskirting, the invasive act of photographing up a woman’s skirt without her knowledge. Strangely, upskirting is still legal, and has become so commonplace that some simply accept it as a hazard that comes with being a woman. There was even a 2016 Calvin Klein ad where a model was purposefully caught in an upskirt moment. But U.K. resident Gina Martin is tired of accepting this form of harassment and has taken it up with the government.

After Martin was upskirted by two men at a music festival last year, police officers basically told her not to wear skirts, deleted the photos, and called it a day. Appalled that there was no punishment for the harassers, Martin discovered that upskirting is not considered a sexual offense in the U.K., so she launched the #StopSkirtingTheIssue campaign and now, a year later, the law is reportedly changing.

In an interview with Mashable, Martin said she took the campaign to Parliament and that “they all agree that what Ryan (my lawyer) and I were proposing wasn’t controversial, the gap in the law should be closed and law professionals from across the country agreed with us.”

At this time, the government has put forward a bill that Martin said, “will become law soon.”

Mashable reported that past upskirt offenders have been charged with “Outraging Public Decency,” which basically translates to U.S. law as disturbing the peace, but because past upskirt offenders weren’t tried as sexual offenders, the were typically fined a few hundred bucks. Once upskirting becomes a sexual offense, it can be punishable by up to two years in prison.

Martin said she hopes her story helps women “feel empowered and realise that sexual assault isn’t just a fee we have to pay for being women. It shouldn’t just be part of life.”

According to Martin, it’s only “a matter of months” until this bill becomes law.

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