Jane Merrick: Michael Fallon accuser and Time Person of the Year says 'Movement against sexual harassment must continue into 2018'

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Time has named 'silence breakers' as its 'person of the year'

The movement against sexual harassment must not become purely a 2017 issue, it must continue and culture needs to change to say harassment won't be tolerated.

That's according to Jane Merrick, the former political editor of The Independent on Sunday. She also claimed that Sir Michael Fallon lunged at her and kissed her in 2003.

Time magazine has featured women who spoke out about sexual harassment on its "person of the year" cover and named several women as winners of the award including Merrick herself.

Sexism may also start to be treated as a hate crime, meaning those convicted will be given longer sentences. This was announced by the National Police Chiefs Council spokesman on hate crime, assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton.

Merrick told Julia Hartley-Brewer often "we move on to the next movement" but "we need to change society is to make it clear that this kind of behaviour whether it is inappropriate touching or more serious cases of assault it’s not going to be tolerated and I think that’s part of the culture that needs to change.

"I think that's why I want to carry on talking about it and using this amazing platform that I have to actually say how are we going to change things."

But Julia said "there is an element I do worry that we are part of this is still seeing women as victims as opposed to women who are empowered to control these things themselves." Merrick responded by saying the matter "does have to be about empowerment."

She also said whilst she's "instinctively against making new laws" she can see the sexism hate crime idea is "about saying do you have a longer sentence if you are motivated by that misogyny" and can it be proved in court. "That’s the key thing it’s not just about an automatic man on a woman criminal act."

However Julia wondered "are we saying that any time a man attacks a woman is because she’s a woman? What about when a woman attacks a man?

"If someone gives me a black eye it doesn't make any difference to me why they’ve given me a black eye if they’ve given me a black eye in which case they should go to jail."

Listen to the full interview above