A powerful new campaign has been launched aimed at tackling everyday harassment and inappropriate male behaviour towards women and girls.    

The “Just Don’t” campaign is the latest step in the Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin’s fight to improve the safety of women and girls, alongside partners across the region.    

Shocking research has shown that 86% of young women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment in public and the mayor is urging everybody in the region to be an ally, step up, call it out and help stop it.    

The campaign, being launched during Violence Against Women and Girls Week of Action, is centred around a powerful video (image above) which shows men and boys making excuses for inappropriate behaviour and harassment in everyday situations. This escalates to a chilling finale where a male perpetrator makes a threat about knowing where a young woman lives.    

Mayor Brabin said:  “The fact that we, as women and girls, have to face constant harassment and abuse in our everyday lives is appalling, but sadly not surprising.    

“This isn’t about blame — men and boys have a key role to play in helping us end this behaviour. This is about encouraging them as allies to see the problem and empowering them to help us by stepping up and calling it out.   

“Things must change. Our message in this campaign is that it’s not banter, it’s not harmless, and it’s not OK — so just don’t. I’m urging everybody to join us in this fight to tackle inappropriate behaviour towards women and girls.”

The campaign was developed following research and testing with focus groups, which found men were frequently unaware of the issues women face all too often. The key message is “Just Don’t”, with the video calling on men and boys to reflect on their own behaviour as well as that of their friends and family.    

Det Chief Supt Lee Berry, director of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership, which is supporting the campaign, said: “This campaign highlights the shocking extent of harassment and intimidation that women and girls endure on a daily basis.    

“Collectively we need to be the difference, it starts and stops with the behaviour and attitude of men and boys. By working together, understanding the impact and setting the expectations, we can bring about the change needed.”   

To find out more about the campaign and how you can help to improve the safety of women and girls, visit www.just-dont.co.uk

Building on action already being taken in West Yorkshire    

As the country’s first and only female metro mayor Ms Brabin has made tackling violence against women and girls a top priority.     

This campaign is the latest in a series of initiatives led by Mayor Brabin to improve their safety, including:    

  • Launching new guidelines to help make parks safer for women and girls;
  • Funding the “Ask for Angela” scheme which enables those who feel vulnerable or unsafe to seek help in bars, clubs, or businesses. Over 700 venues are now signed up to the programme;  
  • Securing £14 million for victims’ services across the next three years, many of which support women and girls; 
  • Launching a bus safety feedback tool to find out how safe people feel on the bus network so that we can work with the police and bus companies to take action in hot spots.