March 04, 2016

Where Did It Happen To You?

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“Soho, 2am, December, 2014. That’s when it happened to me.”

This is what I typed to Nimco Ali late last night on receiving her email about The Women’s Equality party’s new campaign. She told me her time and location, too. Every time I tell someone, it’s makes me feel more free. And that’s just the two of us. On email.

The new campaign is called #WEcount and involves plotting the time and date of when you were sexually harassed, on a digital map, with a pin. Going public, but you can still keep the details of who you are private. And do you know what? It felt empowering. If I was an emoji, I’d be the flexed bicep emoji right now. Taking that little red pin and plotting it on the exact piece of land where something bad happened to you, in some small way, you’re taking back control. And there is something incredible powerful in that. Especially when it’s LOT of women all doing it at the same time, for the same cause. Seeing the map and imagining all those red pins made me feel sad, but also angry and also stronger. The saddest thing is always thinking “I bet most women out there have a story to tell relating to this.”

It’s like when I worked at The Debrief and someone was writing a feature about the rising number of schoolgirls who have been “publicly masturbated at”. Every woman around the table put their at hand up; it had happened to all of us too. There was something quite disturbing about that. 100% of us in that office had experienced something that was not OK. I rang my friend, it’d happened to her too. And another friend, her as well. What on earth?
The cause of this campaign is not only to make one individual person feel slightly more heard, but to spread awareness to end violence and abuse of women and girls. This is part of the Women’s Equality party’s London election campaign.

Make YOUR mark on the map here.

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And then join by adding your hand selfies with the postcode to the ‪#‎WEcount‬ hashtag campaign, and spread the word as far and wide as you can.

Together, we can reclaim our streets for women.

Read more about the campaign here.

The video below features Pavan Amara, who built the “My Body Back” project after being attacked and has helped hundreds of women who have been assaulted to reclaim their lives.

The Women’s Equality Party (WE) is committed to ending violence against women and girls.

  • WE will fund more community action by police in rape hotspots around London, as well as introduce preventative campaigns
  • WE will provide ring-fenced funding for Rape Crisis Centres and London’s Haven, including ring-fenced specialist care for BME and disabled women
  • We will introduce unconscious bias training for the police and the justice systems
  • We will introduce compulsory PSHE in all schools to educate young people about consent and safety, taught by specialists and funded by the Mayor
  • WE will offer education and support for women in all of London’s universities with university authorities bound by a clear duty of care
  • WE will ensure that all women and girls who experience sexual, domestic or other violence have access to specialist advocacy and support services
  • WE will create a fund – more than £800m by 2018-19 – to support the legal aid budget, restoring half of the cuts made in 2012
  • WE will expand services to ensure we can provide a stable place to live for all women and children fleeing domestic abuse, starting with crisis and refuge services and moving into more permanent housing

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