Sadiq Khan has just launched a new campaign to tackle misogyny which urges men to “have a word” with themselves – and their friends – to prevent violence on women and girls.
The mayor of London’s campaign has been backed by football clubs around the city, which have promised to include posters and graphics for the initiative in their stadiums.
The accompanying trailer, released on Monday, shows a group of young men exiting a corner shop at the same time as a lone young woman waits for her taxi on a street corner.
One of the group breaks away and quickly turns aggressive when the woman refuses to engage in conversation and rejects his offer of a crisp.
The man says: “Bit of a moody one this one, isn’t she? Little bit rude, to be honest.
“Jeez, am I really that bad?”
She quietly says, “my taxi is nearly here,” as he continues to berate her.
The two-minute clip then cuts to the internal monologue going on in one of the friend’s minds, who repeatedly urges himself to intervene.
As the scene escalates – and the woman begins to tear up – the friend eventually steps in and says: “What are you doing? That’s enough.”
The tension dissipates, the group leaves and the woman gets in taxi while the voiceover says: ”Male violence against women and girls can start with words.
″But it doesn’t stop there. If you see it happening, have a word with yourself – then your mates.”
Male violence against women and girls starts with words.— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (@MayorofLondon) March 14, 2022
If you see it happening, have a word with yourself—then your mates.#HaveAWordpic.twitter.com/ghESK9qNRy
The video had a pretty positive reception on Twitter, with many users applauding the initiative and the message that the burden women’s safety does not just fall on women’s shoulders.
Got emotional watching this, I’ve had a similar experience myself - it’s so long overdue that I’d see messages about male violence being given to men.— Deeba Syed 🇺🇦 (@deebasyed) March 14, 2022
Men’s violence is not inevitable and it’s not something women need to tolerate. https://t.co/nLWoq1Iwb1
Love this campaign.— Gav Murphy (@cymrogav) March 14, 2022
Lads, you might think you're just having a laugh but you have no idea how intimidating you can be - even if you don't mean it. There's no excuse. https://t.co/ojtckGSrz9
Another *long overdue* campaign that targets male violence, not female behaviour. It's uncomfortable to watch, that makes it powerful. But how far will this message be spread? It needs to start in schools. https://t.co/caq9keMBPo— Harriet Hall (@Harri_Grace) March 14, 2022
This is brilliant. This is exactly what we have been asking for for years - a decent male-focused awareness campaign.— Jenn Selby (@JennSelby) March 14, 2022
Men, call out your mates. Don’t accept misogyny - and don’t be complicit in it either. https://t.co/HxQwnyLbIb
This is a great start. But I’d like to see ~5 different versions of this ad. One with middle class men, one with the woman NOT crying but trying to placate as we do, one with the cab driver being just as bad, one with men’s hands down their pants as they catcall, one set at 9am https://t.co/5wkF5L6RKL— Sophie Wilkinson (@sophwilkinson) March 14, 2022
The campaign comes just over a year after Sarah Everard’s kidnap, rape and murder, and six months after the killing of teacher Sabina Nessa.
It’s part of Khan’s re-energised strategy to address all violence against women and girls (VAWG).
Speaking at Selhurst Park stadium on Sunday, the mayor said the country is “facing an epidemic of violence against women and girls, committed by men”.
He said: “As men we need to be reflecting on the way we view, treat and talk about women. That’s why this new campaign is about talking directly to men and boys to get the message across that words matter and that there’s a link between misogyny and violence.”
Khan pointed out that tackling it is a shared responsibility, and that “it’s time we kick these rotten attitudes and behaviours out of our city and society for good”.
He has also indicated that he wants primary schools to teach children that this is not healthy behaviour, to make misogyny a hate crime and to make the sexual harassment of women in a public place a criminal offence.