From better lighting to "safe rooms", students across the UK are protesting to call for action against sexual violence

students across the country protested against it Sexual harassment and violence on campus as they call for more to be done to support victims and help women feel safe university.

Campaigns started after the murder of Sarah Everardwho disappeared on their way home in London earlier this month, sparking widespread talk about women's safety.

"People have finally started to pay attention to the dangers women face every day," said Alice Orlick, a sit-in protest organizer at the University of Exeter The independent one.

"We said," This is the time we can talk about it because this is the time people listen. "

It also comes that young people have shared thousands of testimonials about sexual abuse on the website Everyone is invitedMany share the name of the school or university that the abuse took place in or in which the perpetrator participated.

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Ms. Orlick estimates that around 1,000 people took part in a session protest on the Exeter campus last week to raise awareness of sexual assault at the university. This required more resources to support victims of sexual violence as well as consent workshops at the university.

"Since I've been here, I've come across many, many people who have been sexually assaulted," said the sophomoreThe independent one.

This includes people who have been attacked since the beginning of the academic year, she said, adding that there are "known predators" on campus.

The Sit Down N Shut Up movement, which organizes sit-ins to publicize sexual assault at the university, was launched when the spotlight on women's safety was in the spotlight after Everard's murder, Ms. Orlick said.

Students gathered for a session protest at the University of Exeter to protest against sexual violence

(Sit down and shut up)

Another campaign group, Reclaim Campus UoB, was launched over in the Midlands.

"A lot of the women on campus felt really insecure," said Molly Kenyon of the University of Birmingham The independent one.

She said there was discussion in a women's group chat about experiences they had on campus, including catcalling, tapping, and chasing.

Then, she said, the members thought, "Why is nobody doing anything about it?"

After bringing a group together, the next day they organized a sexual harassment protest on campus and in the surrounding area, which Ms. Kenyon estimated hundreds attended. "We didn't expect that at all," said the first year. "But I think it just shows how big this problem is."

Earlier this month, students gathered at the University of Birmingham to protest sexual violence

(Gracie Ellis / Reclaim Campus UoB)

Since then, the university at Reclaim Campus UoB has successfully met requirements to improve safety, including better lighting and safety for vehicles arriving on site.

Ms. Kenyon said the next step is to shape the mentality around sexual assault – including removing the blame for victims – and setting up a coordinated national campaign to support the safety of women on campus.

“Because this affects every single university campus across the country,” she adds.

Meanwhile, University of Warwick students are holding a session protest to demand more protection for women from sexual violence on campus.

Cai Kennedy, one of the organizers, said they were encouraged to start the protest after hearing stories of assault and warnings of potential "predators" on Snapchat following the murder of Sarah Everard.

She spoke of a sit-in protest on campus and told the story The independent one One of the organizing groups, Protect Warwick Women, was formed because the organizers were "tired" of hearing stories of sexual assault.

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"We started because we were tired of hearing about all of these different women attacked on campus and all of these different men to watch out for on campus," said the 19-year-old.

She said, "We've had people protesting the same thing. But the university tends not to listen to us. So we wanted to do something that they couldn't ignore."

The sit-in began on March 18, and at its peak, over 400 students camped out in the middle of campus in the piazza.

Almost two weeks later and it's still going strong – told with Mrs. Kennedy The independent one It ends when the university “fully agrees” with a list of demands.

The organizers have asked for a revision of staff and safety training on sexual violence and consent, as well as regular, compulsory training and workshops for students.

The demands also include greater protection on campus, e.g. B. "Signposted security rooms", which are manned around the clock by trained support staff, and the permanent ban on sexual assault from events organized by a university or student association, as well as from all common areas on campus.

The organizers also ask the university to publish a report every semester, which lists, among other things, the number of reports, convictions and punishments of sexual violence.

The University of Warwick issued a statement on March 26, responding to the protest movement's demands, saying it welcomed the ideas put forward and that sexual misconduct "will not be tolerated".

"There are many areas in which we largely agree and in which improvements have already been made or implemented," it says. "But there are others for whom they rightly asked us to do more – such as getting more involved in the training we developed and improving the physical security of the campus."

It said The organizers of the sit-in were invited to work with the university through a study advisory group to solve problems together.

However, the organizers vow to continue their participation until they are confident that their requirements will be met by the university.

"I think what keeps me going is that so many women have come forward and thanked me for having the courage to talk about their own stories and come forward," said protester Kennedy The independent one.

Warwick University students held a meeting protest on campus

(Kai Faulkner)

As part of efforts to improve safety and well-being, the University of Warwick said It's checking street lights, raising signage to help campus, and working to further improve education.

In a message to students about campus safety earlier this month, the University of Birmingham said personal safety is a "community responsibility" that can be promoted through "identifying and reporting inappropriate behavior."

"The university continues to invest in improved campus video surveillance, safer hiking trails, personal safety campaigns, and working with students and through the Student Guild to combat sexual harassment and violence in all its forms," ​​she said.

It added, "Please remember that you are not alone and we are here to help, whether through our security services, wellbeing teams, or the dedicated supporters and respondents to reports of sexual harassment and violence."

The University of Exeter has been contacted for comment.

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