Schweppes and advertising agency Ogilvy have launched a campaign that sheds light on harassment in nightclubs. They created a dress back in May that tracked how many times and how intensely women in Brazil were groped on an average night out.
The project, called “The Dress for Respect”, involved making a dress that was embedded with sensor technology that was relayed via wi-fi and a visual system, so the research team could track the harassment in real time.
Three women were sent to a party wearing the outfit. In just under four hours, the women were touched a combined 157 times – roughly 40 times per hour. You can see a heat map of the dress lit up primarily on the lower back, bum and arms, imposed over footage of the women asking men not to touch them.
In interviews held before the experiment, men said that harassment wasn’t a big issue for women in clubs, with one man saying, “Who goes out on a Thursday just to dance?” and another saying it was just women “complaining about everything”.
The researchers then invited the men to watch the experiment footage the next day. They expressed their surprise and shock at the image of the dress that appeared bruised.
Many people commented on the Twitter post that Ogilvy shared yesterday, expressing their outrage at the men in the video.
Harassment is a widespread issue in Brazil, where 86% of women have been harassed in nightclubs. And over four in 10 women in the country say they’ve been sexually harassed at work, on the street, on a bus or at school. Sexual harassment was criminalised in 2001, but only in cases of interactions between bosses and employees.
With party season upon us, this campaign is a reminder of how having a night out as a woman has a darker side of groping and brushing off unwanted advances. Women should be able to enjoy themselves on a Saturday night without having to endure sexual harassment.
In the year of #MeToo, projects like the “The Dress for Respect” are so important to highlight how groping has become normalised and, as seen with these interviews, we unfortunately still have to prove to men that women aren’t making this stuff up. What men can take away from this campaign is to believe women, understand consent and, as one of the women in the video said, “Talk to me without touching me.”