Sheffield activists put up posters calling out sexual harassment in the city

“All we want is to be safe”

Posters addressing domestic violence and sexual harassment in line with the #reclaimthesestreets movement appeared across Sheffield this morning.

The signs were put up by a group of female activists last night after the Saturday evening vigil on Devonshire Green for Sarah Everard was cancelled by police.

The female activists gathered just after 6 pm on Tuesday evening, ensuring it was dark, so they could display their messages with no disturbances. The organiser of the event also chose to hold the campaign in the evening to represent the general consensus of women not feeling safe to walk alone at night.

The organiser, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the Sheffield Tab about why she decided to start the poster campaign:

“The decision to do this was due to the fact the vigil in Sheffield was cancelled Saturday evening. We needed an opportunity to be seen and heard and this was the only way of doing so which we all agreed on without a protest.

“We hope women’s voices are never silenced again, and we want to make a stand for all women, especially women who have experienced any form of abuse at the hands of predatory men. We want this to be totally peaceful but still make a statement.”

Posters can be seen across Sheffield. One poster that reads “Educate your Sons” is displayed outside The Harley Pub. Another that says “Stop Violence against Women” is located on Rockingham Street around the corner from Division Street. Notes were also left tied onto trees on Devonshire green.

Across the weekend, vigils still went ahead despite the events being cancelled and the warning of fines being issued. There has been outrage in the media over the aggressive actions of the police who attempted to shut down the original Clapham Common vigil, which resulted in many women being arrested.

She continued: “We all just want reform. We don’t want violence or chaos. If we can’t change men’s views, surely we can change laws to make the behaviour that inspired this movement illegal and effectively a chargeable offence. We hope this will discourage men’s predatory behaviour.

“Sarah Everard has touched all of us – we all feel it could have been us. She did everything women have been taught to do to stay safe and it didn’t make a difference. The police brutality at the vigil in Clapham has made us feel like we can’t trust anyone, not our families, not our partners, strangers, friends, and now the police. We feel our safety is not valued. All we want is to be safe. Surely it’s not too much to ask.”

The female activists have not said whether they will continue to put more messages and posters up in The Steel City but one thing is clear: the women of Sheffield will not be silenced.

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