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New Mum Left Outraged After Man Refuses To Delete Pictures He Took Of Her Breastfeeding

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New Mum Left Outraged After Man Refuses To Delete Pictures He Took Of Her Breastfeeding

A new mum has been left feeling "angry and disgusted" after a stranger took photographs of her breastfeeding - and then refused to delete the snaps.

Julia Cooper, 32, was walking with friends in Sale, Greater Manchester, when she stopped at a nearby bench to breastfeed her nine-month-old daughter.

It was then she noticed another man staring as he sat at a nearby bench.

As she started feeding her daughter, Julia claims the man got out a DSLR camera and attached a zoom lens to take snaps of her - despite Julia being able to see what he was doing.

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Julia had been out with friends when she had her photograph taken (Credit: Unsplash)
Julia had been out with friends when she had her photograph taken (Credit: Unsplash)

"It felt horrible," Julia explained. "I was being discrete about feeding her and I think that's why he attached a zoom lens, because he wanted to get as close-up a shot as possible of what was going on.

"After feeding my daughter, I went over and asked him if he was taking photos of us."

The man confirmed he had been taking photos of Julia and her daughter, before refusing the delete the images.

"He said it was his right because we were in public," Julia said. "He didn't explain why he'd taken the pictures and I didn't think to ask. In a way, I didn't want to know.

"It was obviously a sinister reason. I would guess it was for sexual gratification. It was a cold April day, and I was wearing a big coat.

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Julia is now lobbying for the law to be changed (Credit: Kennedy)
Julia is now lobbying for the law to be changed (Credit: Kennedy)


"It was only when he saw me breastfeeding that he decided to get his camera out, so I'm guessing it was [for] some sort of pleasure.

"I went away, went home and felt really angry and disgusted."

After the incident, Julia decided to contact the Greater Manchester Police, who confirmed they could not take action against the man because his actions were "within the law".

"Even the man at the police control room said: 'I don't agree with this, but it is legal at the moment,'" she said.

"They couldn't do anything about it."

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Julia has now chosen to take matters into her own hands, getting in touch with her local MP Jeff Smith and politician Stella Creasy - who previously reported the same thing happening to her on a train in Wimbledon.

Julia has also launched a Change.org petition that has racked up more than 25,300 signatures, in which she calls for a change in law that would make the 'disturbing, intrusive act' of photographing breastfeeding without consent illegal.

"Stella Creasey and Jeff Smith are tabling an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing [and Courts] Bill which is going to be debated in parliament over the next week, I think," she said.

Julia's petition has had a lot of support (Credit: Kennedy News Media)
Julia's petition has had a lot of support (Credit: Kennedy News Media)
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"It's at committee stage and that means there's a committee of MPs that are going line by line through all the amendments.

"The up skirting [Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019] bill in 2019 just covers images taken below the waist. The amendment that the two MPs have proposed is that it would also include images and photos taken of breastfeeding.

"The petition has really taken off and I've spoken to Change.org and we're talking about when to deliver the petition to the Ministry of Justice.

"I'm really glad that someone positive is happening out of what happened to me."

The Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019 states a person commits an offence if he or she 'operates equipment' or 'records an image' beneath the clothing of another person and does so with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks, or underwear, where they would not otherwise by visible.

Someone convicted of upskirting can face up to a two year jail term.

While Julia has said her story has seen other women approach her with their stories, she still doesn't feel comfortable breastfeeding out in public again.

"I do feel sad that [breastfeeding is] something that's been ruined for me," she said.

"I've tried to do it a couple more times, but I feel like I'm really aware of who's around and if they look like the kind of person who'd take a photo of me.

"That's not something I should have to think about while feeding my daughter.

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It's legal to photograph someone in public without their consent (Credit: Kennedy news Media)
It's legal to photograph someone in public without their consent (Credit: Kennedy news Media)

"This has changed how I feel breastfeeding in public. I take a bottle out and feed her with a bottle.

"Before, I just thought breastfeeding in public was something normal and I'd expect maybe a glance from a passer-by, but since it happened, I've gradually stopped breastfeeding in public."

The Met Police's website states: "Members of the public and the media do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places and police have no power to stop them filming or photographing incidents or police personnel."

Greater Manchester Police said that members of the public do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places and police have no powers to stop them doing so.

Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News Media

Topics: UK News, Life News, Life, Parenting

Kimberley Bond
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