After one MP blocked the campaign, the Government have confirmed they will be introducing the #UpskirtingBill as a Government bill, ensuring the act will officially be a recognised sexual offence
If you’ve watched the news or been on social media the past seven days, chances are that you’ve seen Gina Martin; the person behind the campaign to make upskirting illegal.
On Friday, Gina, accompanied by her lawyer Ryan Whelan, walked into the House of Commons ready to present the second reading of the upskirting bill to the Government. While they were received well, and supported by Minister Lucy Fraser and Prime Minister Theresa May, the bill was not passed due to one MP objecting.
Responding to the news; heartbroken but not ready to give up, Gina said: “I am obviously extremely upset and disappointed that Sir Chope decided to object on this vitally important bill for the women of England and Wales. I remain positive, though.
“We knew this was a risk - but I now stand with powerful, passionate, women and men behind me, and I am confident that Lucy Fraser is committed to - and will - close the gap in the law.”
Gina wasn’t the only person disappointed, either. Support flooded in by her followers, MPs and celebrity supporters of the campaign, including Mayor Sadiq Khan, Holly Willoughby and Prime Minister Theresa May.
London should be the safest city in the world for women & girls - that’s why I welcome the Government’s support for @beaniegigi’s excellent campaign & @Wera_Hobhouse’s bill to toughen up sentencing for abusive, sexual harassment such as this: https://t.co/4LNHUrGjE2— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) June 15, 2018
Just so proud of @beaniegigi for seeing her campaign through to the end... you have done something courageous and wonderful. There should never have been a gap in the law that allowed ‘upskirting’ in the first place! 🙌🏻✨💜— Holly Willoughby (@hollywills) June 15, 2018
Upskirting is an invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed. I am disappointed the Bill didn't make progress in the Commons today, and I want to see these measures pass through Parliament - with government support - soon.— Theresa May (@theresa_may) June 15, 2018
Despite the support, there were still some objectors to the campaign, though these were quickly acknowledged by Gina and her supporters, who responded with dignity and integrity. One objector who came under fire was celebrity lawyer, Nick Freeman.
He wrote: “Whilst this is totally unacceptable conduct, if women assumed some responsibility for their attire they would not be in jeopardy. Prosecutions will only utilise valuable police and CPS resources that should be prioritised elsewhere.”
And it wasn’t just those who followed Gina who came to her defence. Freeman’s own daughter, Sophie Freeman, responded: “Get real dad - what an ignorant and thoughtless comment.”
Get real dad - what an ignorant and thoughtless comment. Upskirting can quite easily happen even when women dress conservatively... but the responsibility still lies with the woman? This is for sure one of the top 3 stupidest comments you’ve ever made. #EngageBrainAndReassess— Sophie Freeman (@SophieOFreeman) June 16, 2018
But things have changed
Following the disappointing news and a weekend of upset, on Monday 18 June, Gina spoke to Philip and Holly on This Morning. She explained how she had met with Chope to discuss her bill and why she was so passionate about making upskirting illegal.
“He’s on board now, the entire government’s on board” she said.
'He's on board now, the entire government's on board'— This Morning (@thismorning) June 18, 2018
Gina Martin discusses her reaction to MP Sir Christopher Chope blocking her campaign to make upskirting a criminal offence due to his disagreement with parliamentary process pic.twitter.com/ulHandnUtu
And while speaking on This Morning, Gina was unaware of the progress being made by the Government. Her #UpskirtingBill was being introduced as a Government Bill, meaning no blocking can be made, and upskirting will be made a recognised sexual offence, punishable by up to two years in prison.
“I said that we’d look back on Friday as the day one man tried to stand in the way of justice and didn’t. But I didn’t realise we’d be looking back on it so soon” she said in an official statement.
“Just as I predicted, Lucy Frazer and the Government has remained firmly behind me and decided, after consultation, to ensure upskirting becomes a specific sexual offence, by putting forward a Government Bill.”
Gina continued, “This bill will go through. The Government, Ryan and I will finish this. Upskirting will be made a sexual offence. And it just shows that if something isn’t right, it doesn’t matter how ‘normal’ you are.
“We all have the ability to change things if we work hard, know what we want, go about it the right way and just. don’t. stop.”
BREAKING NEWS: The Gov, @ryantwhelan and I are proud to announce that they will be introducing an #UpskirtingBill as a Government Bill, to ensure the gap in the law is closed. 🙌🙌🙌— Gina Martin (@beaniegigi) June 18, 2018
You can find my official statement on this insanely great news below.#upskirtbill pic.twitter.com/p3R7rGAO2d
Image credit | Gina Martin