UoN students show their support for the #KillTheBill movement outside Portland building

Over 100 students showed up to participate in the demonstration

Earlier this week, beginning on Wednesday 24 March, students started laying posters and flowers outside Portland building, in support of the #ReclaimTheseStreets and #KillTheBill campaigns. The installation will remain outside for the remainder of the weekend.

These campaigns have arisen following the murder of Sarah Everard who went missing whilst walking home on 3rd March, before her body was found and identified a week later in Kent. Police officer Wayne Couzens has been charged with her murder.

Repost: Laura.dixon (Instagram)

Her tragic death, as well the force used on women at the vigil on Clapham Common has highlighted that police officers still abuse their power at the detriment of protected groups. Now, women everywhere have been coming forward with their own stories of sexual harassment and assault leading to the start of these campaigns.

The Tab Nottingham spoke to Laurie Dixon, a first year student at UoN who organised the event. Laurie is one of three founding members of the newly created ‘Feminism For 97’ group, alongside two other first year’s, Ife and Lucy.

According to Laurie, her drive to create the event stemmed from the fact that there were no #KillTheBill events within Nottingham. As someone who has survived sexual assault and harassment, she took the matter into her own hands- organising and setting up the installation within only a few days.

Although the event was not formally approved by the Student Union (despite requests for it to be), ‘Feminism For 97’ didn’t let this set back stop them from creating a space where the female student population of Nottingham would feel “listened to”.

Laurie says the installation has been extremely successful and well known around campus, with over 100 students spectating/ participating in the installation and sharing it all over social media.

Although it is natural for an event of this nature to be almost sombre and sad in some respects, Laurie said the environment was “buzzing and empowering”.

“It was a perfect opportunity for women to open up about their own experiences, writing anonymous notes to those that have assaulted them and therefore providing a much needed safe haven for many victims”, she said.

“For others (male and female), it was the start of many more conversations.  Conversations which are vital if total respect for women is to be achieved.”

Going forwards, ‘Feminism For 97’ hope that in the future the University will take up the concerns of the student population and adopt an anonymous sexual harassment system which can effectively and efficiently resolve cases (similar to that at Manchester university).

For anyone who hasn’t yet seen the installation, it will be up over the weekend (although in a slightly different format). Alternatively, you can get in touch with Feminism For 97 or Laurie to find out more.

Featured Image: Repost Laura.dixon 

Related articles recommended by this author:

• In pictures: A Sarah Everard memorial has been put up on the Portland steps

• Nottingham fell silent as the city showed their solidarity for Sarah Everard in Saturday’s vigil

• What it’s actually like to be a woman scared to walk alone through Lenton