Three women subjected to ‘verbal sexualised abuse’ on Hastings Pier during England game
Three women said they felt ‘incredibly violated’ after being subjected to ‘verbal sexualised abuse’ by some members of a large group of people who had gathered to watch England’s opening Euro 2020 game on Hastings Pier.
The three friends, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had come to visit Hastings on Sunday (June 13) and wanted to see the pier.
Half of Hastings Pier had been closed off to show England’s game with Croatia so the three friends went up the stairs next to the big screen to see the rest of the pier.
“As we stood up there to see the pier, a cheer went up from the fans,” said one of the friends. “We thought it was at the football as we couldn’t see the screen. Then we realised that some of the men were waving and cheering at us. Then almost instantly the cheers became a chant. Literally hundreds of men simultaneously chanting at us. It was awful.
“We instantly ran away to escape the awful chanting and clearly pervy eyes of hundreds of men. One of my friends ran back to shout at them. It was so intimidating and humiliating.
“We felt incredibly violated and angry afterwards. All I had wanted to do was show my friends the pier. Instead of showing how nice Hastings Pier was, I actually led them to be sexually harassed by hundreds of men at once.
“After all the MeToo movements you just don’t expect something like this to happen. Now this is the image these young women have of Hastings. Of an unsafe, misogynistic place.”
The friends reported the incident to Sussex Police.
A spokesman for the force said: “On Monday afternoon 14 June police received a report that 24 hours earlier a group of three women had been subjected to verbal sexualised abuse by a large group of people who were assembled to watch the England v Croatia match on Hastings pier.
“The allegation has been recorded, we are looking into it and will also be discussing it with the event organisers.”
One of the victims said the event’s organiser – 4TheFans – had been proactive in responding to reports of the incident.
A spokesman for the company said: “We will not tolerate offensive language or behaviour from any of our guests, and take the safety and well-being of our customers and staff seriously.
“The majority of our customers are well behaved and enjoy the event. Unfortunately with an event of this size it’s always possible a small minority may behave in a way that is unacceptable. Where we identify this, we will act quickly and those responsible will be removed and handed to the authorities, and banned from future events.”