Statement from UPSU
We want anyone who identifies as a woman to know that as a Students’ Union we stand with you. It is a harrowing truth that women are more likely to face sexual harassment and be survivors of abuse than men across the world. This week, UN Women released a study finding that over 70% of women in the UK say they have experienced sexual harassment in public spaces. Sexual violence and harassment are an everyday reality of being a woman and this simply should not be the case. Women have the right to walk down the street, day or night, free from fear of being attacked, kidnapped, or murdered.
We know that there isn’t a simple solution, but we believe that action needs to be taken to address this important issue. We want our campus and our community to be a safe place for all. More action needs to be done to step up and challenge the culture of misogyny in our society and do better. It’s time to stop passively accepting violence against women as a social norm. More action needs to be done to provide more appropriate care and support for women and girls who have experienced trauma linked to violence and abuse.
It’s everyone's responsibility to take progressive actions. Start by actively calling out any instances of sexual harassment and abuse. We need to move from actions that focus on women “protecting themselves” to meaningful conversations with everyone. This will create positive, proactive and permanent change to stop violence against women.
The Students’ Union will continue to work in close partnership with the University of Plymouth to ensure that Plymouth is as safe as it can be for all female residents. We will be working with our women’s networks and help to campaign and educate on this pressing issue. However, we know that there is still lots more work to be done.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Sarah Everard and with anyone who identifies as a woman who doesn’t feel safe. If you would like to be involved and be part of shaping Students’ Union activity in this area, please get in touch.
Statement from the Women's Network
We were heartbroken at the news of Sarah Everard’s death, and our sympathies are with Sarah’s family, friends, and anyone who has been affected by this news. Violence against women has become a topic of debate in the press over the past week, and we know this can be incredibly difficult to hear, particularly for women whose lived experience has been ignored, silenced, or dismissed as “rare”, as we have heard from some areas of the media. The Women’s Network is clear that this is not a rare occurrence, and we are committed to making sure your voice can be heard.
We know that people are keen to channel the energy which has been fuelled by outrage, and for now our focus is going into the positive changes we can make. We know our male allies want to learn and know how to support us, but it can be exhausting to be asked for solutions when we are at crisis point, especially to a problem many women have been shouting about for years.
The Women’s Network, in partnership with the Student’s Union and the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team, are compiling a toolkit for male allies, with resources to help them educate themselves to support us better. We welcome contributions in any format– podcasts, articles, books, videos, and will share them widely.
We also want to make it clear that we welcome involvement from our male allies. We are a network for anyone who identifies as a woman or as non-binary, but this does not exclude us from working with men – please feel very welcome to get in touch if you are a man and would like to help with the toolkit or to be involved in the network’s work, or if you have questions about any of this: firstname.lastname@example.org. By working together, we will #ReclaimTheseStreets.
We want your help to create a new toolkit on male allyship. If you have any recommendations or resources that you think will help men be better allies to women in public, at work or at study then let us know; these resources could be podcasts, books, movies, TED talks or essays.
It is not the responsibility of women to ensure they are safe from violence on our streets and male allyship is vital. Together we will #ReclaimTheseStreets.
- Report abuse, harm or hate anonymously via Speak Up
- Contact the Student Hub
- Staff can access confidential information on domestic abuse and more
- Students can visit our support pages on domestic abuse
- Students could also contact UPSU Advice confidentially
- Read the University’s Policy on responding to Sexual Violence and Misconduct
Support in Plymouth
Adults and their children escaping domestic abuse can break any COVID-19 lockdown restrictions to ensure their safety. Women’s Aidalso offer free train travel for anyone travelling to refuge accommodation.
Only download and install apps if it is safe to do so and you are sure your mobile phone is not being monitored.
- Bright Sky is a free-to-download mobile app, providing support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know.
- Hollie Guard is a smartphone app which essentially transforms your smartphone into a personal safety device. All you need to do is shake your phone or tap the screen and you generate an alert, which automatically sends your location and audio/video evidence to your emergency contacts.