Police are investigating after a woman was filmed without her consent and sexualized in voyeuristic TikToks twice in the space of four days. The woman was filmed outside the Puregym in Spinningfields on two separate occasions by a prolific TikTok account posting sexualized videos of women unaware they are being filmed.
She said the incidents have left her feeling “paranoid” in the area, and hopes that by speaking out, she can encourage more victims to report their experiences to the police. “The first time it happened, I didn’t even know I was being filmed,” she told the Manchester Evening News . “I don’t have TikTok, but a friend saw it and showed it to me the next day.”
She returned to Puregym Spinningfields, where she regularly works out, two days later, and noticed a man standing on the steps with a flask, filming. “He was actually stood there with a hot flask, it looked like he’d been there for ages,” she said. “This man posts his face of him on his account of him, so I know exactly what he looks like.”
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She approached both Puregym and Spinningfields security, as well as reporting the incidents to the police on both occasions. But she only received a Crime Reference Number from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) after the second incident. “Both Spinningfields security and Puregym in Spinningfields were initially actually better than the police in their response,” she said after her first report was not followed up.
GMP have today confirmed that they are investigating, as the second incident meant the issue could be classed as harassment.
In a statement, Superintendent Rachael Harrison, deputy force lead for violence against women and girls, said that filming women and girls going about their daily business was “unacceptable”, and that tackling violence against women and girls remains a top priority.
Earlier this month, other victims and young women told the MEN they felt “scared and unsafe” in the city after videos of them walking in Spiningfields, taken without them knowing, gained millions of views on the social media platform. The TikTok account has now been removed for violating community guidelines, but women say they are concerned it will come back again under a different username – something some claim it has done before.
At the time, GMP said no official police reports had been made by the women, and that no crime had taken place. One victim, who was also the subject of two separate videos, said that she had tried to report it but had given up after being left on hold for 40 minutes with no response.
“Some of his videos were girls drunk, passed out on the floor. He’s sexualising the content, he’s posting it online, he’s making it inappropriate without consent from any of these women,” the woman added.
“He’s standing outside my gym, I go to that gym three, maybe five times a week. What if he then gets to know a girl’s routine? Why is he hanging around for hours with a flask? I just want to make sure that young women feel safe in the place that they live.”
She encouraged other women targeted by the account to come forward and speak to the police, saying she hoped it would make everyone take the issue seriously.
Superintendent Harrison said: “We want all members of our community to feel they are not at risk of harm and are safe in Greater Manchester. Filming women going about their daily business and making derogatory remarks is abhorrent and unacceptable and no woman should have to endure it. Violence against women and girls remains one of our top priorities and we’re continuously working with partners to actively target predators and make public spaces safer, which includes night time and entertainment venues.
“GMP is actively investigating these reports and I would encourage anybody with information on this, or indeed other occasions where they feel under threat or harm, to report it online or via LiveChat at www.gmp.police.uk or by calling 101. Alternatively , contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
A TikTok spokesperson said: “We are deeply committed to fostering an inclusive and safe place for people to share their creativity. We do not tolerate sexual harassment on TikTok, and we have banned this account for violating our Community Guidelines.”