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Emily Atack says catcalling should be made a public health issue

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Millie Atack has said it is “important” to make catcalling a “public health issue” as she faces a new BBC Two documentary about her experiences of sexual harassment.

The Inbetweeners star said verbal street harassment – offenders often shouting sexual comments in public – can be “very damaging” to people’s lives.

Emily Atack: Asking for it? In it, she explores how sexual harassment has developed into “something so inflammatory, offensive, malicious and violent” and how it can be tackled through education.

It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life and one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through and

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Atack said that “minor and normalised” behavior could develop into “somewhat more sinister and malicious”.

The 33-year-old actress also said: “I think it’s important to bring up things like making catcalling a public health issue. People can roll their eyes and roll their eyes when they hear things like this, but I’m not going to get into that now.” I can understand the importance of such things.

“Catcalling isn’t just catcalling, that’s what it means – it means someone has such easy access to you but is able to rid themselves of it by driving or running away and you’re feeling down.

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“It can be very harmful over a period of time.”

During the program, she looks into her life and the social media messages Atack previously said included rape threats — to find out why she and others are harassed online.

She talks to a sexual violence and abuse councilor and online safety campaigners to find out why it’s been normal for so long and what police are doing to protect women and girls Is.

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Atack said: “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life and one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through and do.

“I had many points where I felt I couldn’t keep going, I broke down a lot, I had a lot of therapy. It’s revisiting trauma.

On one “emotional” day, Atack said, he spoke to young people and was “shocked” to learn that it was older men “approaching” girls online, not boys in schools.

She said: “What was surprising to me was that girls were saying they felt more unsafe in their school uniform.”

In another scene, Atack talks to his parents about his experiences including receiving unwanted sexual attention from a very young age.

She said: “When you grow up with this kind of behavior in your life, your family and the people you care about do everything they can to stop it.”

Atack said it involved people trying to “change” her behavior and that she has “privileges” such as wearing make-up or wearing a skirt to school.

She also said: “I think as difficult and difficult as it was to go through that process, I feel really strong for it and I’m proud of the film we made.

“If this stops a guy from sending a candid image to a girl that day, he’s done something right.”

Atack has previously campaigned against cyberflashing, where people send unwanted explicit images online, and spoke about the issue in parliament last February.

In March last year, the UK government announced that cyber flashing would become a new criminal offence, with offenders facing up to two years in prison.

Emily Attacks: Asking for it? Airs on 31 January at 9pm on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.

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