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Feminist campaigners demand unisex changing rooms are scrapped amid reports of traumatic encounters

MPs are urging major high street stores to scrap unisex changing rooms following a surge in women suffering traumatic encounters with men. 

Last week Charlotte Kirby, 25, posted a video tearfully revealing how two men had walked in on her while she tried on outfits at a unisex changing room at Primark in Cambridge. 

Now a Mail on Sunday investigation has found that her ordeal is common, unearthing repeated distress at M&S and rival chains with no sex-segregated spaces. 

MPs are urging major high street stores to scrap unisex changing rooms following a surge in women suffering traumatic encounters with men, including Charlotte Kirby, 25, who was left in tears after two men walked into her unisex changing room at Primark in Cambridge

One mother said that while taking her teenage girl to M&S for her first bras, they encountered a man emerging from a cubicle with his testicles exposed. 

Another mother tweeted how at another M&S store, in Exeter, a man left open the door of his cubicle in the ‘gender-neutral’ changing rooms, exposing himself as he tried on trousers without any underwear. 

A woman complained and the man was then escorted out, while protesting. 

Another mother said she had banned her 13-year-old daughter from going clothes shopping alone after discovering her local H&M provides only unisex changing rooms.

 On Mumsnet, a woman recounted how she had been secretly filmed in a unisex changing room.

Our investigation has uncovered many criminal cases involving sexual assaults, voyeurism and harassment in unisex changing rooms.

This year a Met Police officer was given a suspended prison sentence for covertly filming a woman in a Primark dressing room.

H&M, John Lewis, M&S, Monsoon and Primark no longer offer female only spaces after transgender activists called for unisex changing rooms – despite a survey showing that 98 per cent of the public wanted single-sex spaces. 

‘A PERVERT FILMED MY DAUGHTER OVER THE TOP OF THE CUBICLE’ 

A mother has told how her 18-year-old daughter was filmed by a pervert in unisex changing rooms at H&M. 

Nicky Dobson told our investigation that the man performed a sex act while he filmed from an adjacent cubicle at the South of England store. 

She said: ‘My daughter was in a changing room which was not labelled as male or female. 

‘The cubicles had lockable doors but there were spaces over and under the partitions. I was standing a few feet away. 

‘The man was filming over the top of the cubicle – he’d stood on a stool to hold his phone over the top.

‘I’m amazed I couldn’t see it as I was just outside the cubicle. We were unaware at the time but were later informed by the security guard and police that he had been performing a sex act in the cubicle, while he watched the footage on his phone.’ 

Ms Dobson urged stores wishing to support people who feel uncomfortable in single sex changing rooms to offer customers a third, safer space. 

She said the current situation ‘allows predatory men access to women and girls’ safe spaces’, adding of the stores: ‘In the face of sex offences on their premises, they continue to ignore a huge number of complaints from women.’

Tory MP Miriam Cates said: ‘Nobody is saying all men are a risk but if you are a predatory man you now have an open door – literally – to vulnerable women in a state of undress. 

‘I really hope these big companies wake up to what they are doing because it is not safe.’ 

Labour MP Rosie Duffield said: ‘It’s completely unacceptable for major retailers to deny women and girls a right to change in private.’ 

And women’s rights campaigner Maya Forstater said: ‘There are men who will take advantage of opportunities for voyeurism, exposure and spying with mobile phones. 

‘Retailers should not be afraid of having clear signs and saying No to men who want to undress with women and girls.’ 

Emma Salmon, of Woman’s Place UK, added: ‘Retailers must not override or minimise women’s need to feel safe in public. 

‘Policies that assert the right of women to privacy and dignity in public spaces must be reinstated immediately.’ 

Following huge criticism after Charlotte Kirby’s video of her ordeal in Cambridge, Primark said last night that it plans to reinstate ‘a dedicated fitting room area for women’ as well as continuing to provide unisex changing areas. 

It said larger stores would have separate women and men’s changing areas. 

In smaller shops, men and women would use the same entrance but be directed to different corridors of cubicles. 

In addition, cubicle curtains will be made longer with mechanisms to hold them ‘firmly in place’. 

Nicola Williams, of the group Fair Play For Women, said: ‘If Primark still thinks “women-only” can include men who say they are “women”, their solution is a sham.’ 

H&M said its changing rooms would stay unisex. 

A spokeswoman said: ‘We strive to be inclusive and we allow customers a choice of which fitting room to use.’ 

M&S said: ‘We have fitting rooms in our womenswear and menswear departments and each is made up of individual, lockable cubicles to ensure everyone feels comfortable and has the privacy they need. 

‘While they are mainly used by customers of that gender, as an inclusive retailer and in line with most other retailers, we allow customers the choice of fitting room.’

H&M, John Lewis, M&S, Monsoon and Primark no longer offer female only spaces after transgender activists called for unisex changing rooms – despite a survey showing that 98 per cent of the public wanted single-sex spaces. Pictured: A changing room at Primark

H&M, John Lewis, M&S, Monsoon and Primark no longer offer female only spaces after transgender activists called for unisex changing rooms – despite a survey showing that 98 per cent of the public wanted single-sex spaces. Pictured: A changing room at Primark

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