We’ve seen an incredible movement of women saying #MeToo to demonstrate the ubiquity of sexual harassment and abuse women face across the UK. For those of us, however, who have experienced or witnessed harassment as part of being a member, activist or elected representative in the Labour Party, it’s particularly hard to speak out.
The LabourToo project
This project seeks to enable women to share their stories anonymously so that we can build a compendium of the types of abuse women face which all too often are unseen, ignored or swept under the carpet. We know that despite everything the Labour Party stands for, women are not believed, told they are lying, or in some cases their potential careers within the Party are threatened. The idea for this was germinated by women who love the Labour Party and work hard within it, but who know it has to be better. Your stories will be used to convince those who run our Party to take these issues more seriously and create a consensus to change policy and cultural norms within our organisation. We will not include any stories in the report that specifically name individuals.
Please note: this is not an official Labour Party website or a way to report assaults or discrimination to the Labour Party. If you have experienced any form of sexual harassment within a Labour Party environment you can report it directly to the party so it can be dealt with through their existing procedures. A copy of the sexual harassment procedure can be found here: https://labour.org.uk/about/sexual-harassment-policy/
Who are we?
The LabourToo team recognises the extreme difficulty of speaking out – which is why we too are anonymous. But we also recognise that this may create a sense of uncertainty about our motivations.
1. All of us are Labour Party members, some with many years under our belt.
2. We’ve all held positions of responsibility in the Party and have a deep commitment to its success – we act not out of any misguided sense of factionalism, lack of loyalty or hostility to current or previous leaderships.
3. We are simply interested in letting the light in to the very real experience that women have in the Party day-in day-out so that those in positions of authority have the evidence to take real action.
What information are we asking for?
We want to break the cycle of women not feeling they can speak out in the same way as courageous websites like EverydaySexism have done. We also recognise that men experience harassment and abuse and though this project is aimed at women, feel free to record your stories too. Here are a few things we’re interested in hearing about in your entry:
- What position you hold in the Party (activist, elected, CLP officer etc.)
- Whether your experience was recent or a while ago.
- The position of the harasser(s)/abuser(s).
- Whether you reported the experience and if so, what happened.
- Whether your experiences have stopped you being active in the Party or made you consider your membership or activity levels in the Party e.g. standing for an elected position.
- Anything else you want to tell us (no identifying details please).
We will absolutely respect your right to confidentiality but please try not to include any identifying factors for yourself or perpetrators – this isn’t about ‘outing’ people, but simply trying to demonstrate the extent of the problem. We have included demographic questions to help us analyse the submissions but you don’t have to give us that information if you don’t want to. We’re not collecting your email address or anything else just to be on the safe side!
Please see our full confidentiality statement for more.
What will happen to your story?
Once we have collated women’s stories we will pull them together in a document thematically and ensure senior members of the Labour Party receive copies. Please note, entries may be quoted in future press articles as well as in the final report. Please see our full confidentiality statement for more.
Let’s see if we can create positive change! The survey will close on the 19th December.
You may have read this far and thought, actually I don’t want to comment. We know that just summoning up experiences can be traumatic, so if you don’t feel comfortable that’s totally fine.
At this point we’d also like to ensure everyone has access to the National Rape and Sexual Abuse Support number: 0808 802 9999 and website: http://www.rasasc.org.uk/ as well as the National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247 http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/
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