News & Current Affairs
Nottingham: Ex-PCSO Launches Gym Safety Initiative for Women
In an effort to make women in Nottingham's gyms who experience harassment or inappropriate attention feel more comfortable working out there, a new programme is being introduced.
An ex-PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) who claims she was harassed at her own gym is spearheading the initiative.
According to Eleanor Smalley's continuous survey, almost a quarter of female respondents have had a "uncomfortable interaction" while working out.
Now, she has created the Safer Gym Group initiative.
Project manager for Newark and Sherwood Safer Streets, Ms Smalley, conceived of the programme to reduce violence against women and girls.
Thirty-plus percent of the survey's 400 participants said they avoided the gym altogether after an unpleasant encounter there.
Some people helped them without asking, others stared or made improper comments, while yet others took pictures of them without permission.
Ms Smalley said: "I had an experience at the gym, and it opened my eyes. I know I am not the only person who feels this way and I could see it happening to other women."
"We want to stamp out this behaviour, so it does not escalate, and we want everyone to feel empowered to challenge this behaviour."
She called the poll "eye-opening," saying it revealed that some harassed women had even set up home gyms.
"Some people are staying away from gyms and this needs to change," she added.