Reclaim Our Campus vigil held in Selly Park in memory of Sabina Nessa

‘The extent of male violence is scary and repetitive’

Student movement Reclaim Our Campus held a vigil to commemorate the death of Sabina Nessa.

The vigil was held in Selly Park on Tuesday evening.

Around 50 students gathered with candles, flowers and signs to show support for Sabina, her family, and all women killed as a result of male violence.

Despite the Metropolitan police claiming women are safe on London streets, a recent survey by The Tab revealed that 80 percent of students don’t feel safe walking home.

After the tragic death of 28 year old Sabina Nessa, who was killed on her five minute walk from her home to the pub, University of Birmingham students came together on Tuesday evening to pay tribute to the young woman and her family.

The vigil was organised by Reclaim Our Campus, a student group aiming to erase all harassment and fear on the UoB campus and surrounding student area of Selly Oak.

Acacia Matthews, Chair of Reclaim Our Campus told The Birmingham Tab: “We organised the vigil in the wake of Sabina Neesa’s brutal murder in South East London in a bid to stand in solidarity with her family, and in memory of her and all other women who have lost their lives as a result of male violence.”

Approximately 50 students were in attendance at the vigil, held in Selly Park, in Selly Oak. Local police officers were also on scene.

Acacia, a Political Science and International Relations student in her second year described how “making the vigil made us feel sad that it was only six months since the one for Sarah Everard.”

“The extent of male violence is scary and repetitive and that is why we felt so strongly about holding this vigil in her name,” she said.

As students arrived at the park, the Reclaim Our Campus committee distributed candles throughout the crowd. A two minute silence was held for attendees to think about the victims and their families. Students were then encouraged to reflect upon and share their own experiences in small groups to foster an open conversation about times they have felt unsafe.

“We think the vigil went well. The turnout was slightly less than it would have been if it was sunny and warmer,” Acacia told The Birmingham Tab.

“Ultimately though, turn out wasn’t our priority as, regardless of how many people came out, we were there to stand with Sabina Nessa and her family.”

Since the murder of Sarah Everard in March, the University of Birmingham have been under increased pressure to provide better services to make women on campus feel more safe. The Reclaim Our Campus Chair outlined to The Birmingham Tab how they have been working with the uni to “increase dialogue on the issues that face women and non binary people around things such as consent and male violence”.

In response, the university has introduced a number of new measures including handing out personal safety alarms, updating lighting around the campus, and providing security staff with better training to support female and non binary students.

For more information about the Reclaim Our Campus movement, visit reclaimcampusuob on social media.

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