March is feeling like the longest month ever, for oh so many reasons. A cascade of events started with the short-lived celebration of International Women’s Day with the theme of #ChooseToChallenge, then came the latest chapter of the drawn out "feud" between Meghan & Harry with the Royal Family, shortly followed by the gut-wrenching news regarding Sarah Everard and outcry from across the globe in united anger. We then saw the right to protest being challenged in the UK, followed by the heart-breaking rise in Asian hate crime (which we'll be addressing before the end of the week). Ironically, Mother’s Day was in the middle of all that somewhere too. Sigh.
Last week via our Instagram we expressed our sadness at what was a particularly awful week for women. We committed to gathering our thoughts before coming back with ideas for what we might be able to actually do. Thank you to everyone who made suggestions, those will all be featured at the end of this post.
The story of Sarah Everard has sparked broad conversations about women’s safety. We would like to preface this by saying that we still know very little about what actually happened to Sarah, we only know the awful outcome. It would be wrong to compare her horrendous case with everyday sexual assault. What happened to Sarah was horrific, but it was also extremely rare, so whilst we believe that the fact that her abduction has inspired us all to stand up and say enough is enough to sexual harassment, we think it’s important to acknowledge that what happened to her is, of course, not something that most women experience.
That said, a tragically unsurprising survey found that 97% of young women have been sexually harassed. Gender-based violence like this needs to be taken seriously because women have the right to feel safe in public spaces. Women have fought for equality from the beginning, yet with a myriad of accomplishments and achievements, still must strive for an equal playing field. Sadly, it took a horrendous event for people to wake up and listen to the reality that women face daily. Of course, not just women - this is also an all too familiar issue for members of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s important that we keep our conversations on gender inclusive.
Here are links to some of the charities that were shouted out in replies to our initial post on this subject:
An incredible charity committed to creating a world where domestic violence and violence against women and girls is not tolerated and where women and children can live in safety. A range of services, including both life-saving and life-changing are there to support and empower.
@refugecharity // Visit the Refuge website
SOLACE WOMEN'S AID 💚
Supporting women and children in London, for more than 40 years, to build safe and strong lives - futures free from male abuse and violence. They do this by offering a range of different service, from advice and support to accommodation all tailored to support those in need.
@solacewomensaid // Visit the Solace Women's Aid website
WOMEN & GIRLS NETWORK 💚
Since establishing in 1987 they have been supporting women and girls across London affected by gendered violence for over 30 years. They aim to create a safe, non-judgmental and non-directive space in which women and girls can explore their experiences, and know that they will be listened to and believed.
@womenandgirlsnetwork // Find out more on the WGN website
Thank you to everyone who commented. Please keep an eye out for announcements about our Charity Hand Wash, we rotate the charity that we support each month. Having already made donations to Refuge, we look forward to supporting the other initiatives above in the months to come. Our current charity is Luminary Bakery, who provide opportunities for women to build a future for themselves and aim to break cycles of poverty, violence and disadvantage once and for all.
Team UpCircle 💚