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National Rail & British Transport Police campaign regarding sexual harassment on the Railway

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Yorky

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I was on a train yesterday and was rather perplexed to see a notice on the display screen from National Rail and British Transport Police encouraging passengers to report people staring at them! I find it ridiculous. Staring doesn't harm anyone and also there could be endless reasons why someone is looking at you (could look familiar, could look ill and a cause for concern, could be looking at your clothing thinking "I want a coat like that."). How would you even police that? Are we really moving in to a world where it is illegal to look at someone?

Have you seen this message? What are your thoughts on this? Would you call the police if someone looked at you?
 
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LowLevel

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I was on a train yesterday and was rather perplexed to see a notice on the display screen from National Rail and British Transport Police encouraging passengers to report people staring at them! I find it ridiculous. Staring doesn't harm anyone and also there could be endless reasons why someone is looking at you (could look familiar, could look ill and a cause for concern, could be looking at your clothing thinking "I want a coat like that."). How would you even police that? Are we really moving in to a world where it is illegal to look at someone?

Have you seen this message? What are your thoughts on this? Would you call the police if someone looked at you?
It's not "looking at people", it's persistent staring, which is quite a different, and fairly aggressive, behaviour. If I "stare you out" it is very different to glancing at you and will make you feel quite uncomfortable by default.
 

DarloRich

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How would you even police that?
Don't be silly - we don't need silly culture war nonsense
Have you seen this message? What are your thoughts on this? Would you call the police if someone looked at you?
I think you are, perhaps wilfully, misinterpreting something. That "harmless staring" is often the precursor to much more unpleasant activities especially those faced by women.
 

Highlandspring

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I was on a train yesterday and was rather perplexed to see a notice on the display screen from National Rail and British Transport Police encouraging passengers to report people staring at them! I find it ridiculous. Staring doesn't harm anyone and also there could be endless reasons why someone is looking at you (could look familiar, could look ill and a cause for concern, could be looking at your clothing thinking "I want a coat like that."). How would you even police that? Are we really moving in to a world where it is illegal to look at someone?

Have you seen this message? What are your thoughts on this? Would you call the police if someone looked at you?

They are targetting sexual staring. Men who travel on trains solely to stare at women and often also photograph them and make sexually suggestive remarks with the goal of making them feel as uncomfortable as possible. It is a common occurrence.
 

Yorky

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They are targetting sexual staring. Men who travel on trains solely to stare at women and often also photograph them and make sexually suggestive remarks with the goal of making them feel as uncomfortable as possible. It is a common occurrence.
What would the police be able to do though for someone just staring? I can't imagine them saying "Louise Rogers, I am arresting you under suspicion of staring at Thomas Adams". I'd be worried about being charged myself for wasting police time.

Could a court of law rule staring as harrassment? I also think it's important to note that people with brown/black eyes can be difficult to determine where they are looking as their pupils are not always visible. For example a man could be looking out of the window at the Somerset countryside on his train trip and someone may mistakenly think he is looking at them.

Nobody wants to see people being groped and sexually assaulted but when it comes to a poster that is marked Police then I personally feel they should only be following up legally enforceable offences.

I find your comments interesting @LowLevel , that you interpret staring as a form of aggression. I guess we all react differently to certain behaviours. Would you speak up if someone was staring at you on the railway? Would you tell the Guard?
 

Deepgreen

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Prolonged eye-to-eye contact (i.e. not looking at clothing, etc.) is a form of challenge in humans in most situations. Very hard to prove and enforce, of course, and a seemingly very odd use of screen space.
 
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The exile

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Especially as I fear it will only reinforce the aggressive “ You looking at me, mate?” Mentality
 

Bertie the bus

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Could a court of law rule staring as harrassment? I also think it's important to note that people with brown/black eyes can be difficult to determine where they are looking as their pupils are not always visible. For example a man could be looking out of the window at the Somerset countryside on his train trip and someone may mistakenly think he is looking at them.
You are really grasping at straws here in trying to sensationalise something that is quite reasonable. You can tell if someone is staring at you because they face and look at you for a prolonged period. People don't face the other way and look sideways so no, people couldn't be innocently looking out of the window and be accused of staring at somebody.
 

sd0733

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Surely if just 1 person is dissuaded from doing it or 1 person reports it that otherwise would feel uncomfortable doing so its done its job.
There are many less pleasant characters roaming round on trains and even if its meaningless many people, Male and female, feel extremely awkward, threatened and uncomfortable with someone sat there staring at them.

I really cant see how someone can be confused with someone staring out thr window at the countryside as a previous poster said, by its nature if you are staring at the countryside from the window you are looking in the exact opposite way than staring at someone.
 

ainsworth74

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I saw the adverts in question and personally I thought it was quite a good campaign it covered a range of sexual behaviours including groping and rubbing up against people (where, before anyone jumps on, it was clearly explained that it was deliberate and sexual not just because the train is crowded). I certainly didn't read any of it as suggesting simply looking at another passenger being criminalised. In context, to me, it was very clear exactly what it was getting at and it wasn't just glancing at another passenger or making random eye contact like I'm sure we all do from time to time!

and a seemingly very odd use of poster space.

The ones I saw were on a 195s electronic screen so rotated around with other things like calling patterns and whatnot rather than being a fixed poster.
 

Brush 4

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It is a further slide down the slippery slope of micro-managing daily behaviour. It is also too vague. Is there a legal definition of staring? Without it, it is open to various interpretations. A nervous female may think just being glanced at is staring. Everyone of both sexes 'clocks' a good looking person, perfectly normal behaviour. So, how do we stop that? It's impossible to not notice something, unless your eyes are closed, in which case you are going to bump into lamposts and fall off platforms. So, keeping your eyes open would seem to be the minimum requirement. If someone makes a complaint, will the CCTV be trawlwd through to see if someone looked at the complainant? Horribly Orwellian and big brother, as if we weren't already too far down that road already, which we are................

Yes, but glancing can misinterpreted. In reality, most are too busy staring at their phones to notice anything else anyway
 
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ainsworth74

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Aha, here is the staring one that I saw (and I assume the OP) did as well:



(Poster says "Staring" in large font with the 'a' and 'g' altered to be two angry looking eyes. Underneath it says in smaller font but all capitals: "Intrusive staring of a sexual nature is sexual harassment and is not tolerated" and underneath that is the usual contact information for BTP)


Personally I think that's very clear on what is an issue...
 

ainsworth74

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The other posters appear to be here on the NRE website (along with various other bits of information) and I've attached them below for posterity.
 

Attachments

  • NR_USB_PRESSING_DOUBLE_ROYAL_635x1016mm.pdf
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  • NR_USB_EXPOSING_DOUBLE_ROYAL_635x1016mm.pdf
    602.2 KB · Views: 27
  • NR_USB_SEXUAL_HARASSMENT_DOUBLE_ROYAL_635x1016mm.pdf
    601.6 KB · Views: 16
  • NR_USB_STARING_DOUBLE_ROYAL_635x1016mm.pdf
    605.6 KB · Views: 13
  • NR_USB_CATCALLING_DOUBLE_ROYAL_635x1016mm.pdf
    602.9 KB · Views: 15
  • NR_USB_CYBER_FLASHING_DOUBLE_ROYAL_635x1016mm (1) (1).pdf
    605.7 KB · Views: 14
  • NR_USB_TOUCHING_DOUBLE_ROYAL_635x1016mm.pdf
    603.1 KB · Views: 11
  • NR_USB_UPSKIRTING_DOUBLE_ROYAL_635x1016mm.pdf
    605.8 KB · Views: 17

Ken H

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I saw these on the screens on a Northern service the other day. I thought it a bit weird.

If I see something of interest out the carriage window and someone was by that window am I staring at them?

I also stare into space when thinking. I am not looking at anything, just considering stuff. I have just looked out of my house window past the missus thinking what to type here. But I am not staring at her.

The line between normal behavior is very blurred on this one. The ones about upskirting and deliberate unwanted contact are fair enough.

but would a stalker read the screens/posters anyway?

Unless, of course, the decent countryside is through the window the other side.
or reading a station name.
 

DarloRich

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If I see something of interest out the carriage window and someone was by that window am I staring at them?

goodness me. This board...................

Aha, here is the staring one that I saw (and I assume the OP) did as well:
Is that what the OP is complaining about? It couldn't be clearer what it is about. This board will be the death of me!
 

Highlandspring

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What would the police be able to do though for someone just staring? I can't imagine them saying "Louise Rogers, I am arresting you under suspicion of staring at Thomas Adams". I'd be worried about being charged myself for wasting police time.
I’m sure you’d be over the moon if your 14 year old daughter came home in tears because a man had spent an entire train journey leering at her, eyeing her up, making sexually provocative remarks about her clothing and trying to photograph her, and the BTP told you there‘s nothing they can do to help her because it’s ‘just staring’.

Or maybe you could try having a bit of human decency and compassion and try to realise the world isn’t only inhabited by middle aged male railway enthusiasts. Women are made to feel uncomfortable by perverts seeking sexual gratification every day on the railway; it’s disgusting and it’s absolutely right that BTP are taking it seriously.
 

DarloRich

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I’m sure you’d be over the moon if your 14 year old daughter came home in tears because a man had spent an entire train journey leering at her, eyeing her up, making sexually provocative remarks about her clothing and trying to photograph her, and the BTP told you there‘s nothing they can do to help her because it’s ‘just staring’.

Or maybe you could try having a bit of human decency and compassion and try to realise the world isn’t only inhabited by middle aged male railway enthusiasts. Women are made to feel uncomfortable by perverts seeking sexual gratification every day on the railway; it’s disgusting and it’s absolutely right that BTP are taking it seriously.

Well said.
 

sd0733

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Unless, of course, the decent countryside is through the window the other side.
That's true, my mistake, never even considered that and I probably do that myself.
Almost everyone doing that though will not be staring directly at someone. The vast majority of peoples intentions are usually clear between innocently watching the world go by and peering at someone
 

al78

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I’m sure you’d be over the moon if your 14 year old daughter came home in tears because a man had spent an entire train journey leering at her, eyeing her up, making sexually provocative remarks about her clothing and trying to photograph her, and the BTP told you there‘s nothing they can do to help her because it’s ‘just staring’.

Or maybe you could try having a bit of human decency and compassion and try to realise the world isn’t only inhabited by middle aged male railway enthusiasts. Women are made to feel uncomfortable by perverts seeking sexual gratification every day on the railway; it’s disgusting and it’s absolutely right that BTP are taking it seriously.
Nice strawman. Making sexually provocative remarks and photographing them without their permission is not staring, it is violation and is a very different thing.

I have often noticed an attractive woman or a handsome man, or even someone that seems to have an aura about them. I see that as a natural human thing to do. I don't gawp at women with my tongue hanging out and saliva dribbling from the corner of my mouth, I might look at them for a few seconds and think they are attractive, I don't see what the problem is with that. If we didn't notice attractive members of the opposite sex or even went out of our way to avoid noticing them, it would be very difficult to near impossible for relationships to form. I have never been accused of inappropriate behaviour.

This notice is clearly not aimed at banning people from looking at another person, it is about discouraging people from looking at another in a creepy and uncomfortable way which could imply indecent motives. The vast majority of people, if not all, are able to differentiate.
 

Lemmy99uk

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People who think a campaign about intrusive staring is necessary are exactly the reason that a campaign about intrusive staring is necessary.
 

option

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Aha, here is the staring one that I saw (and I assume the OP) did as well:



(Poster says "Staring" in large font with the 'a' and 'g' altered to be two angry looking eyes. Underneath it says in smaller font but all capitals: "Intrusive staring of a sexual nature is sexual harassment and is not tolerated" and underneath that is the usual contact information for BTP)


Personally I think that's very clear on what is an issue...

How big are these posters? Because that smaller text isn't very readable at this size on a computer screen.
There's also too much information trying to be conveyed.

It also doesn't do well on a colour blindness simulation



A potential problem with campaigns is that you end up with too many of them, & because they're not on screen for very long, or it's just one poster per train/station, they don't cut through all the noise that's already around.



(I'm in no way saying that this isn't an issue to run a campaign on, & deal with, but there's a risk that 'we made a poster & got them on 10% of trains' is seen as a success)
 

Stigy

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What would the police be able to do though for someone just staring? I can't imagine them saying "Louise Rogers, I am arresting you under suspicion of staring at Thomas Adams". I'd be worried about being charged myself for wasting police time.

Could a court of law rule staring as harrassment? I also think it's important to note that people with brown/black eyes can be difficult to determine where they are looking as their pupils are not always visible. For example a man could be looking out of the window at the Somerset countryside on his train trip and someone may mistakenly think he is looking at them.

Nobody wants to see people being groped and sexually assaulted but when it comes to a poster that is marked Police then I personally feel they should only be following up legally enforceable offences.

I find your comments interesting @LowLevel , that you interpret staring as a form of aggression. I guess we all react differently to certain behaviours. Would you speak up if someone was staring at you on the railway? Would you tell the Guard?
It doesn’t necessarily require a prosecution, just a quiet word so as to discourage it and to take some details of the “starer” would be enough to deter future incidents from the same person. It will also make them see that Police are about on the network both in uniform, and plain clothes.
 

Yorky

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It doesn’t necessarily require a prosecution, just a quiet word so as to discourage it and to take some details of the “starer” would be enough to deter future incidents from the same person. It will also make them see that Police are about on the network both in uniform, and plain clothes.
As I understand it, some Train Managers/Guards/Senior Conductors struggle to get police to come and deal with obstructive fare Dodgers, so not sure if they would have the resources to come out for staring?

Would the starer be obligated to provide such details? For me, my main issue is that the police are going off tack from the letter of the law and making assumptions, "he looked at her, so he must be a sex attacker."
 

Brush 4

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The perception of the recipient is what will be taken notice of not the person glancing briefly. If she makes an accusation, that's it really for the other person. The only safe way in the future is to avoid looking at any female, just in case..... (the above) Definitely don't sit opposite one, just in case...... This is the road or line to madness. We have had paranoia around children for 20 years or so, now it will soon be women. Where did reason rationality a sense of proportion and common sense go? It certainly isn't in these warnings. ( the staring one, not the others)
 

DarloRich

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The perception of the recipient is what will be taken notice of not the person glancing briefly. If she makes an accusation, that's it really for the other person. The only safe way in the future is to avoid looking at any female, just in case..... (the above) Definitely don't sit opposite one, just in case...... This is the road or line to madness. We have had paranoia around children for 20 years or so, now it will soon be women. Where did reason rationality a sense of proportion and common sense go? It certainly isn't in these warnings. ( the staring one, not the others)
this is really silly
 

Bertie the bus

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The perception of the recipient is what will be taken notice of not the person glancing briefly. If she makes an accusation, that's it really for the other person. The only safe way in the future is to avoid looking at any female, just in case..... (the above) Definitely don't sit opposite one, just in case...... This is the road or line to madness. We have had paranoia around children for 20 years or so, now it will soon be women. Where did reason rationality a sense of proportion and common sense go? It certainly isn't in these warnings. ( the staring one, not the others)
Millions of us happily go through life without being called a sex pest. If you really are that concerned about this campaign then perhaps you need to consider how you act. I have absolutely no worries about it at all, and I have brown eyes so apparently (according to this thread) nobody can tell whether I'm staring at them or not, and the vast majority of us do make some effort to not make others feel uncomfortable or threatened when in public places.
 
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