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97% of women have been sexually harassed. 

96% of women do not report that they have been sexually harassed. 

45% of women do not report that they have been sexually harassed as they believe no real change would come from it. 

It is time to have a conversation about the daily fears and risks that women face. Everybody should be able to walk home, attend class or go to a party without fear. Nobody should have to walk with their keys between their fingers, pretend to be on the phone, or cross the streets in order to feel safe. It has become commonplace for women to take extra measures to protect themselves within their daily routines – it is time for that to change. 

No, it is not all men, but it is time for all men to take an active role in holding others accountable for their behavior and actions. The defense of ‘it is just a joke’ or ‘I don’t mean it’ to defend crude, misogynistic behavior is no longer viable. As put by Daniel Sloss, ‘if one in ten men are shit and the other nine do nothing, they might as well not be there. Being good on the inside counts for absolutely nothing, you have to actively be good and get involved.’ 

No, it is not women’s fault. The narrative that ‘women should not walk alone’, ‘well, what was she wearing?’, ‘how much did she have to drink?’ belongs in the past. As a society we should all look out for one another and cannot continue victim blaming. 

Open up the dialogue:

Since the tragic news of Sarah Everard, the communication and awareness around womens’ experiences has opened up. Now, this is something that cannot be forgotten in weeks to come, there needs to be a continued open dialogue with change implemented. 

In particular, there needs to be greater discussions within schools and Universities. There need to be more lessons on consent and the importance of understanding and respecting that no means no. In addition to this, there needs to be a more open support system put in place so that more people will be brave enough to speak up about their own experiences. 

Sit Down and Shut Up:

Today, the 22nd January 2021, Exeter students have organized to come together in a peaceful way to share their experiences and respectfully listen to those that want to open up about what happened to them. They have received a huge following of 1000+ followers within four days with many students contacting them with their own experiences. It is important that these women be heard, listened to, and change to come from their experiences. Stories of sexual harassment and assault can no longer be swept under the rug – women and girls everywhere deserve to live their lives without living in fear.

Resources:

For any of those reading this article and have their own experiences, below are organizations you can contact for support:

1. SAFE society – an Exeter committee of students that are available to contact via FB and or Insta if you need any support and advice to talk or on where to go if you need help.

2. University of Exeter Wellbeing service at the Reed Mews Well-being Centre: or 01392724381 or email [email protected]. Wellbeing may be the most appropriate source of help for a one off incident – wellbeing offer a range of counseling services as well as duty appointments for one-off-on-the-day single sessions.

3. Exeter NightLine (a confidential listening and information service for students at the University of Exeter): running an instant messaging service from 8pm-1pm every night of term https://www.exeter.nightline.ac.uk/home

4. Samaritans: 116 123 or email samaritans.org.uk.

5. Survivors Trust (confidential* see note on their website) freephone Helpline: 08088010818 (Mon-Fri 10am-8:30pm; Sat 10am-12:30pm and 1:30pm-4:30pm and 6pm-8:30pm; Sun 1:30pm-4:30pm and 6pm-8:30pm; 24 hr answer machine) or email [email protected] – see https://www.thesurvivorstrust.org/contact for more information.

6. Devon Rape Crisis anonymous helpline (confidential, professional support to survivors of rape, sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse in Devon – no matter how long ago the abuse took place): 01392204174 (Mon, Wed and Fri 9am-12pm (midday) – you can leace a message outside of those times by leaving a message with your name and a safe contact number) or email [email protected] – see www.devonrapecrisis.org.uk for more information.

7. National Rape Crisis freephone Helpline (provided by Rape Crisis South London for girls aged 16+ who have experienced sexual violence – but available to contact when Devon Rape Crisis are unavailable): 08088029999 (12pm-2:30pm and 7pm-9:30pm every day of the year). *LGBTQ+ friendly

Final year Law student at the University of Exeter living out my legally blonde dream.
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