‘How I got the law changed and made upskirting illegal’

'How I got the law changed and made upskirting illegal'

Since then, hundreds of women and children – some as young as 13 – have got in touch with Martin to ask for advice and share their stories of being upskirted. 

According to figures from February 2018, there were 78 incidents of upskirting reported in the last two years and 11 suspects were charged. The data, revealed in a freedom of information request, showed girls as young as 10 had been victims.  

“There are a lot of people who are relying on this law,” says a victorious Martoin. “It means agency over your own body, and the power to be able to take things into your own hands and get justice when your body is treated as if it’s public property. I didn’t have that opportunity when it happened to me.” 

The upskirting ban, which has been in place in Scotland since 2010, is the result of a “massive grass roots campaign” led by Martin and lawyer Ryan Whelan, from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

The campaign wasn’t without setbacks: MP Christopher Chope blocked the bill in June last year. But Theresa May vowed to push the law change through and described upskirting as a “hideous invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed”. 

“I want to encourage people that if they’re not happy with something, to go ahead and change it,” says Martin, who works full time in advertising and campaigned before work, at the weekends and during her holidays. “I’m a regular person who can barely afford to live in London, but I managed this.” 

Next, Martin pans to work with the police on training, and help music festivals and events organisers make their spaces safer. But for now, she has popped the champagne.

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