This week has marked Sexual Violence and Sexual Abuse Awareness week, which this year, amongst the growing storm around Time's Up, #metoo and the enormously successful women's marches across the globe, is particularly pertinent. As high profile women publicly name and expose their abusers, light is beginning to be shed on the sexual violence women face every day. It's slow, and it's coming at the expense and hard work of many incredible women, but change is on the way.
In light of Sexual Violence and Sexual Abuse Awareness Week, UYWRUFC has been reflecting. It has been a year since we released our #itsnotok video, and we have been asking ourselves what has changed. When we discussed what we would write on our #itsnotok placards, the results were very similar to last year - a reflection on the continuing presence of sexual harassment in the lives of ordinary women. There was, however, an emphasis on believing women who speak out - a sign that at last, women's voices on sexual abuse are beginning to be heard.
On a local level, change has been steadily occurring at the University of York, our part in which we are incredibly proud. Last year we took policy to YUSU, lobbying them to create official policy on domestic abuse and to increase awareness of services available to students. We have led campaigns on and off campus, including #itsnotok across the university. This year, we held the Reclaim the Night march in York against sexual violence and harassment. All of which were successful with the constant support of IDAS, our amazing charity partner which works hard to spread its message against sexual abuse and violence in Yorkshire.
So, there is a lot to be pleased about. The reality though, is that many still face sexual harassment, violence and abuse in our community. This is not OK. We are massively proud of our achievements, but we know that there is still so much work to be done. We are committed to continue working hard for as long as it takes everyone on our campus, and in our city, to feel safe - whoever they're with, wherever they go.
SEXUAL ABUSE AND VIOLENCE IS NOT OK
#ITSNOTOK TO CAT CALL
- Cat calling is not flattering
- I should not be grateful that you think I'm pretty
- I should be able to walk down the street without being harassed
- You don't have the right to shout at me, just because I'm a woman
- Cat calling is objectifying
- Cat calling can be scary
- Cat calling can trigger anxiety
- Cat calling is NOT OK
#ITSNOTOK TO ACCUSE ME OF LYING
- If I say I've been abused, believe me
- Help me
- Do not make excuses for my abuser
- Do not ignore me
- My voice is not less believable because I'm a woman
- Do not tell me I've "taken it the wrong way" or "misunderstood"
- Do not tell me I'm lying for attention
- Accusing me of lying IS NOT OK
#ITSNOTOK TO CONDEMN ME FOR SPEAKING OUT
- I have sacrificed a lot to speak out
- I have had to find courage I didnt think I had
- Do not tell me I'm being overdramatic or "hysterical"
- Do not tell me "this is a witch hunt"
- Do not tell me I should stay silent
- Help me
- Believe me
- Stand with me
- Condemning me for speaking out is NOT OK
#ITSNOTOK TO GRAB MY BUM
- You do not have a right to my body just because I am a woman
- I am not "asking for it"
- I should not be flattered
- I should be able to have a good time without the threat of being abused
- Grabbing my bum without consent IS ABUSE
- I should not have to pretend to have a boyfriend to make you stop
- Grabbing my bum without consent IS NOT OK
#ITSNOTOK TO MAKE JOKES ABOUT RAPE
- Rape is never, nor will it ever be, a joke
- I do not need to "lighten up"
- I do not need to "get over it"
- I do not need to "get a sense of humour"
- Rape ruins lives
- Making jokes about rape IS NOT OK
#ITSNOTOK TO IGNORE "NO"
- No means no
- It doesn't mean "maybe I'll be up for it later"
- It doesn't mean "I don't mean it, I'm just playing hard to get"
- Even if I'm in your bedroom and have said yes to everything up to this point, no still means no.
- No can be nonverbal
- Listen to me
- Pay attention to me
- Do not silence me
- Ignoring no is NOT OK
#ITSNOTOK TO THINK I'M ASKING FOR IT
- My clothes do not mean I'm asking for it
- My makeup does not mean I'm asking for it
- My hairstyle does not mean I'm asking for it
- Where I choose to go does not mean I'm asking for it
- What I choose to do does not mean I'm asking for it
- Who I'm with does not mean I'm asking for it
- That I am a woman, does not mean I'm asking for it
- Thinking that I'm asking for it IS NOT OK
#ITSNOTOK TO INSULT ME FOR SAYING NO
- It is my body and my choice
- Respect me
- No means no (see above)
- Do not call me names because you feel insecure
- I do not owe you anything
- Do not hurt me
- I am allowed to change my mind
- Insulting me for saying no IS NOT OK