New virtual reality films gives insight into the impact of misogyny and sexual offending
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A new set of virtual reality films will give young males the chance to see how their behaviour and actions impact on women.
The VR films are a joint project between Warwickshire County Council and Warwickshire Police as part of the Safe In Warwickshire partnership.
They will be shown at schools, colleges and universities in Warwickshire to males aged between 15-22. They will hear first-hand examples of women’s experiences of misogynistic, and often criminal behaviour, and how this has impacted on their lives.
The immersive VR experience, which was created as part of the Safer Streets project funded by The Home Office, was launched at a special showing last night at the Spa centre in Leamington.
Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety at Warwickshire County Council, said: “The VR experience has been developed as part of the Warwickshire Safer Streets project and is a great tool for highlighting real concerns of women living across Warwickshire. Emotive and compelling, the VR films offer a snapshot into the worries and concerns of women who experience misogyny on a daily basis.
“Over the past few months, the Safer Streets Team has held invaluable conversations with residents about crime and community safety in neighbourhoods throughout the county. Working with Warwickshire Police and other partners, we are all committed to providing support to victims of all crimes and to sending a message out to perpetrators and criminals, Warwickshire will not condone any form of harassment, violence, or anti-social behaviour.”
Sergeant Paul Calver from Warwickshire Police said: “These VR videos are extremely powerful and should act as an eye opener for young males who might think their behaviour is just a bit of fun.
“As well as considering how their behaviour might impact on women we also want the viewer to consider how it might impact their own life. Many of the examples in the film cross the line into criminal behaviour and if someone were to be convicted of a criminal offence, especially one of a sexual nature, this will impact on the rest of their lives. It could prevent you from going to university, getting certain jobs and travelling to certain countries.”
Catherine Allen, the VR films' director and one of the UK's leading voices in the virtual reality sector said:
"Virtual reality can be an incredibly powerful tool for creating positive social change, and right now, something that desperately needs to change in the UK is the levels of misogyny young women face on a daily basis. The films place the viewer into an authentic, real-life conversation between women in their twenties, who together discuss the long term impact that everyday misogyny has had on them. The films demonstrate directly to young men the results of their behaviour; sexist behaviour that might feel like 'just a laugh' at the time can have serious long term effects on women, especially when incidents occur over and over again. The films covers a range of topics including catcalling, unwanted touching, cyber bullying, objectification and image-based sexual abuse. I hope that these VR films serve as a wakeup call and create long lasting change.
The VR films' production company was Southam-based RiVR, with direction from Limina Immersive.