Huddersfield actress Jodie Whittaker has spoken of her own experience of harassment as she helped launch a campaign to improve women’s safety in cities.
She was speaking at the launch of ActionAid’s International Safe Cities for Women Day at Marble Arch in London, where she was joined by fellow actress Imelda Staunton and Young Poet Laureate Selina Nwulu.
Thirty mannequins – a third of them marked in red – were installed at the London landmark by the charity to represent the one in three women who experience violence in their lifetime and are subject to it on the streets of their cities.
Asked whether she had felt unsafe on the streets, Jodie said: “There’s been five or six incidents that over my life – and I’m only 33 – I’ve experienced, and actually it made me question how far does something have to go before you report it. And that’s the terrifying thing I think for women ... What do we accept?
“Do we accept someone grabbing you inappropriately on the Tube? Do we accept being leered at and all those things? And how far does it have to go before you report it?”
Imelda Staunton, 60, said women were plagued by concerns that someone may be following them when they are alone in cities.
“That surely isn’t a way any human being should be walking home or walking to school or walking back from work”, she said.
“So I think it’s important for all of us to bring this to the surface and that women who sometimes don’t have a voice be able to voice their concerns.”
She added: “It’s not just about women, it’s about men being made aware. There might be some men who aren’t aware that women don’t feel safe but they should be made aware of that.
“Of course, there are some men who don’t feel safe, but today we are talking about women and when you talk about women, you have to include men.”
ActionAid’s International Safe Cities for Women Day is being marked by events across the world tomorrow.
The charity is campaigning for the Government to increase the proportion of aid going to women’s groups working on the frontline in poor communities.