Trigger Warning: Sexual assault and violence against women
We have seen, via social media, how many of you have been impacted by the disappearance and murder of Sarah Everard. As the SU's first all-female President team, this resonated with us and we share your collective anger and anguish.
Although, especially in the pandemic, London feels so far away, the reality is that all women everywhere live in fear of this kind of thing happening to them and their friends and we adapt our behaviours to make ourselves feel safer every day. We’ve all changed our route to avoid an unlit road, avoided certain individuals, faked phone calls and cancelled plans because we can’t be sure that we can travel home safely.
We recognise that it's not all men, but it is 97% of women*, and stories such as this have become all too familiar. As a society, when we tell women and girls to change their behaviour, what we are really saying to them is to make sure that they are not the most vulnerable target. To make sure someone else is attacked instead. This narrative will never solve the issue of gender-based violence. Instead, women need proactive support of male allies to listen and work together on dismantling barriers that all, who identify as women, face – it’s a responsibility that has be tackled by everyone.
End this cycle of victim blaming and start a conversation to challenge and educate everyone on what safety means in public spaces and what we identify as inappropriate behaviour. We want to empower everyone to call out inappropriate behaviour every single time, it is never too late to report any incidents whether it has happened to you personally or to someone you know.
The Students’ Union does not tolerate any form of violence or sexual harassment.
Lizzy Marshall, SU President Falmouth
Cara Chittenden, SU President Exeter
Amelia Banton, SU President Student Experience
Charlotte Agnew, SU President Welfare & Inclusivity
Mia Terra St Hill, SU Women's Officer
Support and resources:
The government has reopened the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Call for Evidence. Please get involved and share your views and experiences by taking part in this consultation – closing date 11:45pm 26 March 2021.
If you would like to report any incidents of sexual harassment or sexual assault, it’s never too late to use the Falmouth & Exeter Speak Out reporting tool: www.exeter.ac.uk/speakout/report/cornwall. This tool is hosted on the Exeter website but is for both Falmouth and Exeter students.
If you have been triggered by the recent news and events on social media and are unsure of what to do, the SU’s Advice service is confidential and impartial: www.thesu.org.uk/advice.
If you want to seek professional wellbeing support, or if you are currently being affected by sexual harassment or assault, do not hesitate to contact Living Support.
Read How men can be better allies, according to a man by Ben Hurst.