Gina Martin on the power of activism and how she made upskirting illegal
Gina Martin is an activist, campaigner, author, and law-changer. In the summer of 2017, Martin was at a music festival when she was upskirted by a man in the crowd. The term upskirting refers to the violating act of taking photos or videos under a person's clothes without consent in an effort to capture a person's crotch area, underwear, and genitals. When Martin reported what happened to the police, she was told there wasn't much they could do. What she later learned was that upskirting was not a criminal offence in England and Wales. Martin launched a campaign called #StopSkirtingTheIssue, initially setting out to raise awareness of the prevalence of upskirting, but after two years of hard work, determination, and lobbying the government, Martin successfully changed the law in England and Wales.
Martin made upskirting illegal, and under the new legislation those convicted of the crime face up to two years in prison. In the year since the law change, four men have been jailed and 16 men have been convicted of the crime, according to figures from the Crown Prosecution Service. In this episode of History Becomes Her, Martin speaks to host Rachel Thompson about how she brought about tangible change through activism, as well as the challenges and hurdles she faced in her campaign. Martin also shares her admiration for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the U.S. Representative for New York's 14th congressional district, and the youngest woman ever elected to congress.
Martin's book Be The Change tells the story of how she went about building a campaign from the ground up, and it's a useful toolkit for anyone wanting to bring about change in the world.
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Special thanks to Gina Martin, Gleam Titles, and Little, Brown Book Group.
Creator and host: Rachel Thompson
Producers: Maria Dermentzi and Nikolay Nikolov
Editor: Shannon Connellan
Music: Christianne Straker
Illustration: Vicky Leta
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