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New Ad Challenges The Role Of People Who Witness Sexual Harassment

New ad challenges the role of people who witness sexual harassment

A confronting new advertisement from Respect Victoria is challenging those who witness sexual harassment to do something about it.

The ad, which is part of the Respect Women: Call it Out campaign, was released last week, and is designed to highlight how men often make women feel uncomfortable in public spaces, and how bystanders can do something about it.

It happens on a train carriage

The ad shows a woman looking very uncomfortable on a train as a man stares at her from across the carriage.

Two other passengers watch what is happening, as we hear one of them mentally struggling over whether to do something about it.

“He’s creepy,” thinks the observer. “Nah, he’s all right.”

His conscience can’t let it go as he sees the woman looking distressed.

“You can tell she’s uncomfortable,” he thinks.

But he brushes his concerns away: “It’s not a crime to look at someone.”

Finally, he makes up his mind to act. “You know it’s not right,” he concludes. “Do something.”

The bystander steps forward and places himself between the man and woman, shaking his head and embarrassing the first man so that he turns away.


Video will make you feel uncomfortable – it should

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews shared the ad on Twitter commenting:

“This video will make you uncomfortable. It should — because this is what women experience every single day.  Together, we can change that.  How?  When blokes stop harassing women, and start respecting women. When blokes stop ignoring this kind of behaviour, and start calling it out.”

YouTube viewers had different reactions to the ad, with one saying it suggested there was “nothing women can do in these situations other that sit there helplessly and wait for a man to save them”.

Several men claimed that such a scenario “just doesn’t happen” and “isn’t real life”.

But one woman pointed out:

“It’s actually women’s lived experiences, and most of us have lost count about how many times things like that happen to us.”

Awareness is the first step to change

Miles Heffernan, Director of Litigation at Discrimination Claims, said he supported the ad.

“Anything that makes people more aware that women, and some men, are subjected to this sort of thing every day, and if it can encourage bystanders to intervene and stop this behaviour, then I think that’s a good thing,” he said.

“Awareness is the first step to change, and hopefully we will see change in what is acceptable behaviour in public spaces like public transport and bars and clubs.”

Miles Heffernan is one of our specialist team at Discrimination Claims who can assist people who have been subjected to sexual harassment and sex discrimination.

If you have experienced sexual harassment or sex discrimination, you may be entitled to compensation.

Please call our specialist team at Discrimination Claims today on

1300 853 837

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