How 'upskirting' makes women victims of non-consensual porn without realising

New 'legal upskirting' trends makes women victims of non-consensual porn without realising

Some have been found to be filming up women's skirts (Stock image)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

As the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the Presidents Club bacchanalia continue to dominate headlines, an equally nefarious trend appears to be simmering beneath the surface, almost unnoticed.

The trend is known as 'upskirting' and it involves men taking pictures up women's skirts before uploading the footage online. It's not exactly new, but with the rise of smartphones it's easier - and more prevalent - than ever.

Perpetrators can be prosecuted for outraging public decency, but fines for this offence can be as little as £20 - nothing more than a slap on the wrist for the sexist perpetators.

In addition to the lenient punishments, the trend is also being encouraged by porn websites, which are happy to host many of the videos created - despite the women involved often not even knowing the footage exists.

Public transport is a popular theatre of operation for the camera-phone perverts, as busy train and tube carriages provide the ideal environment for someone to take a sneaky photograph, with everyone crammed in like sardines and trying their best to avoid eye-contact. Some people even have hidden cameras pointing upwards in their shoes to make the recording process even easier.

Instances of upskirting are increasing at a rapid rate. In 2014 the British Transport Police recorded 31 upskirting incidents, then 44 in 2014 and 71 last year. It's also becoming ever more popular at other venues, such as music festivals.

Lone voice

Now one woman is fighting back, having been a victim of upskirting herself.

Gina Martin found herself being photographed at British Summer Time music festival in London. She found out when she saw one of the men sending the photo to his friend. Although she managed to grab the phone and ran to security, she didn't get the redress she was hoping for.

Martin says: "I got a call five days later saying the case was closed and was told by the Met police 'there's not much we can do' because 'it's not a graphic image.'"

Now she is campaigning to make upskirting a sexual offence, as this is "the only effective way of capturing everyone who commits this act."

Justice Secretary David Lidington has said he is receiving advice on the matter and hopes a decision on new legislation will be made soon. 

Whether Martin's campaign will be successful remains to be seen. But, in the current climate, she won't be short of support.