Women suffer sexual harassment in Finsbury Park street
PUBLISHED: 07:07 28 July 2011 | UPDATED: 09:13 28 July 2011
A charity worker fears for her safety after suffering repeated sexual harassment in Finsbury Park for the past year.
Clare Simpson has had to put up with constant hassling from men loitering in Blackstock Road and Seven Sisters Road since moving to the area last summer.
She said they routinely whistle and hiss at her, block her path, and make lewd comments and gestures when she makes her way home from the Tube station.
“It’s really common from men hanging around in Blackstock Road,” she said. “I try not to go down there now and I always tell my female friends to avoid it. It’s frustrating and intimidating and can be quite scary at times.”
The 28 year old, who works at a charity in Islington Green, Islington, said the hassling has taken a sinister turn in recent weeks – prompting her to write letters to both Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn and Hackney MP Dianne Abbott.
In one incident two men followed her and then walked up on either side. “I kept walking and they stayed alongside,” she said.
“I couldn’t understand all of what they said but they suggested I had sex with them and they were clearly having a joke at my expense. It was incredibly intimidating.”
She was left shocked and distressed when another man made a lewd gesture with his mouth two weeks later – even though she was with her boyfriend.
She added: “I love living and working in Islington and Hackney but I now avoid the top of Blackstock Road and am becoming increasingly fearful for mine and other women’s safety.”
Police officers from Islington and Hackney admitted this has been a long-standing problem in Blackstock Road, which forms the border of the two boroughs, but they insisted that the street hadimproved in recent years.
Sgt Rob O’Connor, of the Highbury West Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: “We have been working very hard with local businesses and our partners to make Blackstock Road a safe place. Unfortunately, a small minority of people continue to behave in an anti-social manner and these are the people we are targeting.”
A spokeswoman for Hackney Police said: “The Brownswood SNT are aware of the situation and are working along with Islington Police to try to solve the problem. But residents have informed them that the situation has got better over the years.”