We have lost count of the number of stories we’ve heard from supporters made to uncomfortable in their workplace owing to Page 3.
Nurses treating patients who are commenting on a young woman’s breasts, teachers having to cut images of naked women out of newspapers before art class, a woman who sits daily in the staffroom as a man shows Page 3 to the men present and says, ‘would you do that?’, a young woman working in a bar who has her breasts compared to those on Page 3.
Oftentimes the people experiencing the discomfort feel unsure or scared to speak out about it. They assume they should talk directly to the person reading the paper but fear they will be told they’re overreacting.
However, seeing these images at work actually constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace. Your employer won’t want you to feel uncomfortable in this way and they will respect your feelings should you bring the issue to their attention. If they don’t, they are breaking the law.
We understand that sometimes these subjects are difficult to phrase, so we’ve drafted a letter as a template to work with that you could send to your employer. (It has been looked at by a lawyer, so everything in the letter is present and correct in terms of the law – you have the law on your side!)
I am writing you this letter to inform you that I believe that the presence of The Sun newspaper in the office constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace.
During my time with the company, there have been several occasions when colleagues have been reading The Sun and have exposed Page 3 to myself and others. [Or insert a more detailed description of your experience] These colleagues would not be allowed to have a poster of a naked woman on their wall and/or access pornographic images online. However, I am still subjected to pornographic images on a daily basis due to INSERT DETAILS OF HOW THE SUN HAS BEEN VISIBLE.
I find these images are deeply upsetting and hurtful. I believe that the portrayal of women as purely sexual objects feeds into a culture in which women are no longer valued for their contribution to the organisation but for their looks and perceived sexual availability. I do not believe that the culture promoted by Page 3 is consistent with the values of this organisation and its diversity/equal opportunities/anti-harassment policy/general ethos of equality [Delete as appropriate].
I would appreciate your response as to how this could be best handled.
I would be more than happy to discuss this with you further.
If you need further advice or support in respect of any such harassment issues arising at work, or on the template letter above, you can contact us at email@example.com and we will direct you to a friendly legal advisor who will be able to assist you with a free, confidential, no-obligations chat. The following links may also help:-