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I don’t even know where to start with writing this, I don’t know whether I should be here expressing my grief at the tragedies of these last few weeks, my relief that people are finally talking about this, or my anger that this is what it took for the country to take this seriously. I think I’m just tired.

The ability to walk home at night without feeling unsafe shouldn’t be this hard. Survivors should be able to come forward without worrying about being blamed for their trauma. We should have the right to come together to mourn Sarah Everard.

Women are constantly adjusting our behaviour, watching what we wear, where we go, texting friends that we got home safe, memorising the taxi plates, smiling at the catcaller so he won’t follow us home. It’s tiring, and it’s unacceptable. 

We have seen incredible strength from survivors in these last few weeks. Thank you so much to everyone that has shared their stories, and to all the people standing together in solidarity.

The only way that we are going to tackle this is head-on, by allyship from each and every member of the community. It’s about calling out your friends when they make misogynistic comments, standing in solidarity with the women in your lives, taking steps to make our reality safer. 

To those of you who want to be better allies. Do these things: 

  • I implore every UCL student to complete the Active Bystander workshop. Active Bystander training will show you how to make safe interventions if you witness any form of harassment. 10,000 UCL students have been trained already, but we need more Active Bystanders in our community.
  • Take the moodle I <3 consent module. It’s quick and gives you a good understanding of what consent actually means.
  • If you are a leader of a society or sports club, there’s additional training that is available that your club can access by reaching out to the Students’ Union activities team. 

To those of you who need support, we’re here for you:

Report harassment, anonymously if needed:

  • If you want to report any kind of harassment at UCL, you can do that at Report + Support. There are in-depth explanations of the reporting process in the PDFs under the Report subheading here, as well as more support information.

Take care,

Aarushi

Women’s Officer 2020-21