Cardiff students react to the football club’s ‘walk women home’ initiative
It came after the horrific ‘National Rape Day’ hoax was spread involving Cardiff University
After the horrible ‘National Rape Day’ hoax was made, the football club at Cardiff University decided things needed to change, and took matters into their own hands.
The team, led by organiser Ben Marett, created a scheme whereby any female student could ask to be walked safely home if they were on their own or simply feel unsafe on ‘National Rape Day’. Ben organised for members of the football team to meet the student and chaperone their walk home.
In a post from Overhead, Ben said that “having seen the potential threat to girls on Saturday evening in Cardiff, I personally think it’s disgusting and the football club are here to do something about it.”
To make people feel safer about the football team helping them home, Marett add that “Cardiff University Football Club are going to be wearing our red quarter zips (so everyone knows who we are) and will be walking around Cathays making sure everyone is safe.”
The Tab Cardiff reached out to Ben and his team to find out more about this amazing idea.
‘How/Why did you decide to offer chaperones for students so they can walk home safely?’
“I offered to walk my friend, Mia, to and from seeing her friends on Saturday evening and while in conversation with her I asked her if she thought it was a good idea to offer to walk any girls home in the Cardiff/Cathays area so I put a quick message in the football group chat saying it may be a farfetched idea but I’m going to walk girls home on Saturday evening in response to this national ‘rape’ day hoax and 20 lads who were in Cardiff supported me straight away. I put a post out in the ‘Overheard at Cardiff University’ Facebook group saying the football boys would be roaming the streets of Cardiff and anyone who needed walking anywhere could text me and then two of the lads who were closest to the call would chaperone them anywhere.”
“I decided to offer my services and those of the football club because I was worried all of the women in Cardiff with the potential threat. I thought that there would be many girls out there who needed our help so I offered up our services and I had great support from the other football lads.”
‘Have many people took you up on the offer?’
‘What was the evening like for both the lads as chaperones and the students they helped?’
“It was enjoyable knowing we were making a difference but also extremely eye opening for us as men as we were made aware of the many issues women have especially in Cardiff.”
‘Did the response shock you in any way?’
“It did, I was completely shocked by how much positive support we got from hundreds of men and women. We had so many kind words from lots of people which was very unexpected and heart-warming.”
‘What do you hope people take from your decision to help students walk home?’
“I hope this raises awareness for the problems women face today and that other men and women continue to help each other.”
‘What do you hope changes for the future?’
“I hope eventually we reach a point where women feel safe walking around the areas they live. The current climate I hope changes and improves so everyone starts to feel safer together.”
As this is a kind and heart-warming act, we wanted to find out what students at Cardiff University thought and what gestures like this will do for women, and all students who feel unsafe, for the future.
One student said that “it made me feel safer knowing that there were people out there looking out for us.”, with another student adding that “I feel safer and more optimistic that things will be better in the future!”
A few students wanted to exclaim their thanks to the football team, with one student saying that “my friends and I saw them and thanked them for their work!”.
Another female student said that “it’s great to see guys using their privileges to help women out, and hopefully other guys will use them as an example and follow their lead.”
Students have already used their services too. In one Overheard post on Facebook, a female student said that she owed a “massive thank you to the three CUFC lads (and all of you!!) who just walked me home I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.”
In case any student felt worried about messaging the lads to request a chaperone, the student added that “girls, please never ever feel embarrassed or awkward to ask for someone to chaperone you or make sure you get home safe. It’s disgusting that we feel so unsafe in the first place but these guys are doing an incredible job and it was so lovely to feel so safe at this time of night, particularly with what’s going on at the moment.”
To summarise how students feel about this act, and just how kind the football team are for walking people safely home, one student simply said it was the “best thing to happen to Cardiff Uni in ages.”