POLITICS

Whistling and catcalling to become illegal in Chile

SANTIAGO – More than three years after the so-called ´Street Respect Bill´ passed through the Chilean parliament, the Chilean Senate has approved the bill too. The bill makes obscene gestures, whistling, sexual commenting and touching in public spaces illegal. In Macul, Las Condes and Recoleta this was already illegal.

A big step forward in the battle against sexual harassment. The special committee on Women and Gender Equality of the Senate has approved the so-called ´Street Respect Bill´ today. Although the bill had already passed the Chilean parliament for some years, it took the Chilean Senate three years to approve it. The approval doesn´t mean the law has been passed though, this will be done by voting by the Chilean senators.

The bill seeks to sanction all types of sexual harassment in public spaces. From whistling to obscene or sexual gestures and comments, from photographs and recording to touching or following people. In Santiago communes such as Macul, Las Condes and Recoleta most types of sexual harassment are already illegal, through local decrees.

The president of the Observatory Against Street Harassment (OCAC Chile), María José Guerrero, celebrated the step. The law aims to improve the Chilean society, often described as being misogynistic. She said the bill hopes to change the system, as “sexual harassment is systematic.”

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