‘To help make women feel safer, men need to listen’: A conversation with UoL’s Feminist Society

‘It’s enough men to make women feel unsafe walking at night’

The death of Sarah Everard, a 33 year old woman who was walking home has struck a chord with thousands of different women across the country. Women have been sharing their experiences of times they have felt uncomfortable or been sexually harassed, and protests have been taking place in London in response to the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill as well as paying their respects to Sarah’s vigil at Clapham Common.

Sarah Everard went missing on the 3rd of March whilst walking home down a main road in Clapham in London at 9:30 pm. However, Sarah didn’t make it home and by the next day, posts about her disappearance flooded the internet. The police released what Sarah was wearing, including bright clothing and the phone she was using. Since then, a police officer has been arrested and charged.

Taken by Elena Vardon in Clapham

The Lincoln Tab spoke to Uni of Lincoln’s Feminist society on their thoughts towards the case and how society needs to change.

What are your thoughts on the latest news on the Sarah Everard case?

It’s heartbreaking. It’s a shame that it has coincided with Women’s History Month and happened just days after International Women’s Day. It makes us think rape culture won’t change and men won’t listen.

What do you think needs to change in society to benefit women?

People need to take action. If you have a platform, use it! Staying silent in times like this should not be an option. We are currently working with the University of Lincoln’s security team to create social media posts stating what to do if you feel unsafe on campus.

Different scenarios call for different solutions, so we are working on creating multiple posts to explain how the security team can help students in different scenarios if they feel uncomfortable.

What are your thoughts on the #NotAllMen hashtag?

#NotAllMen is a defence mechanism, yes not all men but it’s too many men, and enough men to make women feel unsafe walking at night. It’s enough for women to feel they have to put keys between their hands, enough for girls to have rape alarms on their key rings.

Yes, not all men are rapists. But I can guarantee nearly all men have done something that has contributed to the perpetuation of rape culture. Next time your friend makes a joke about rape, call them out.

What things can men do to change to help make women feel safe?

To help make women feel safer, men need to listen. When the women in your life open up about their experiences, just listen. And then actively ask them what they can do to help.

Men need to educate themselves on exactly what sexual harassment is because often a boundary is crossed without knowing.

What are your thoughts on the latest article of 97 per cent of young women being sexually harassed?

Sadly, whilst this statistic is completely horrific, this isn’t a shock to many women. I think it is rare to find a woman who hasn’t experienced unwanted attention, or much worse.

It is heartbreaking that it’s so normalised. Our mums, aunts, grandmas, sisters, daughters, friends have all gone through it and so will generations of women to come.

Why is this so normalised?

Featured image credit: Elena Vardon

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