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In the last month, we’ve welcomed new partners, marked Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, attended a court hearing on the criminalisation of prostituted women, and awaited news on the government’s Domestic Abuse Bill. Read ahead for a swift yet (hopefully) informative overview of the past few weeks!

Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week

5-11th February marked Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, a time to show solidarity with survivors and campaign for greater justice. Using the hashtag #itsnotok, activists and organisations, UK SAYS NO MORE included, took to social media to share resources and shine a light on the overwhelming prevalence of sexual abuse and sexual violence in today’s society.

A catalogue of events were held up and down the country, with London’s Millennium Bridge playing host to the ‘Light Up The Night‘ Rally. Held on 5 February, Light Up The Night saw more than 100 hundred people gather to stand alongside survivors of sexual abuse and sexual violence and light up the Millennium Bridge with glow sticks and torches.


28 Days of Awareness

Every day throughout February we’ve been posting to our Instagram with a different statistic, fact, myth or quote about sexual violence, stalking and harassment. The overarching aim of this month-long Instagram series is to raise awareness of the scope of these issues, as well as to challenge the culture that legitimises this behaviour and the myths and misconceptions that keep it holding strong. Stay up to date by following us on Instagram at @UKSAYSNOMORE.


Time’s Up Rally 

Exactly one year on from the historical Women’s March, January 21st saw the #TIMESUP Rally take place in London. We were inspired and uplifted to see scores of individuals coming together to say TIME’S UP on harassment, abuse, oppression and inequality. Speakers included writer Paris Lees, leader of the women’s equality party Sophie Walker, and comedian and long-standing supporter of UK SAYS NO MORE, Sajeela Kershi. 


LGBT History Month

February is also LGBT History Month – a time to reflect on the accomplishments and struggles that the  LGBTQ+ community has faced thus far and highlight the uphill battles that still remain to be fought. A number of our partners have been hosting LGBT-focused events all over the country, with several still on the agenda. Get involved here.


100 Years Of Voting

February 6th 2018 marked 100 years since some women were given the right to vote. Of course, this movement was not all encompassing, allowing only women over the age of 30 and those who owned property the right to vote – but it was certainly a landmark move in the fight for gender equality.


#TIMESUP Arrives In The UK

The biggest night on the UK’s film calendar arrived on Sunday 18th February, with the Baftas rolling out the red carpet for a legion of stars, celebrities and special guests. Perhaps the most notable presence was that of a sociopolitical agenda, with the #TIMESUP movement finally making notable waves on this side of the Atlantic. Guests donned black to signify their solidarity with victims and survivors of sexual violence and harassment, with some even arriving with activists on their arm and addressing the movement in their acceptance speeches.


Domestic Abuse Bill

The starkest moment of activism arrived at the Baftas via feminist group Sisters Uncut, who stormed the red carpet in protest of Theresa May’s upcoming domestic violence and abuse bill. We await news on the bill as we hope the government recognise and prioritise the need for safe, secure and accessible housing for those fleeing domestic abuse.


Valentine’s Day

Traditionally regarded as the day to celebrate love and all things soppy, Valentine’s Day typically acts as a fitting time to remind us all of the poignant realities of domestic violence and sexual assault. Whilst Valentine’s Day offers heavy focus on cards, flowers and chocolates, we’re working to highlight that a healthy, respectful relationship is the real gem in finding love.


Q&A with Winnie M Li

Further into Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, we held a live Twitter Q&A with author, activist and rape survivor Winnie M Li. Joining us to keep the conversation around sexual violence going, Winnie spoke in detail about her own experience and her novel Dark Chapter, the impact of the #MeToo movement and what we can all be doing to tackle sexual violence. Take a look at the best bits from the discussion.


Tackling Rape, Sexual Assault and Harassment at Universities and Colleges

In January we attended the Tackling Rape, Sexual Assault and Harassment at Universities and Colleges conference, hosted by Public Policy Exchange. With less than 30% of students who experience sexual violence reporting the instance to a member of staff, the conference looked to examine how colleges and universities handle cases of harassment, assault and discrimination and what practices can be put in place to support survivors effectively. With our very own student summit happening in April, aimed at engaging students into discussing their own education on domestic and sexual violence, the conference insightfully showcased just how much work still needs to be undertaken in this area.


Prostitution Convictions: Judicial Hearing

In January we attended a ground breaking legal challenge brought by several women challenging the criminalisation and continued punishment of prostituted women.  If successful, it will bring to an end a shameful practice in modern day Britain, where those who are victims of abuse and exploitation continue to be labelled and punished for something that was in a large part done to them.


Scotland Domestic Abuse Bill

At the beginning of this month, MSPs in Scotland voted unanimously to pass a landmark bill that will create a new specific offence of “abusive behaviour in relation to a partner or ex-partner”. This means that perpetrators of psychological abuse and coercive control could be prosecuted in addition to those who commit physical violence. Read more via the BBC here.


New partners

We’re thrilled to announce that registered housing association with charitable purpose Hafan Cymru, community interest company Clear Thinking Scotland and international christian alliance Restored have joined UK SAYS NO MORE as official partners. We’re incredibly excited to be reaching organisations and charities in every corner of the UK, and to be standing alongside each other to say NO MORE to domestic abuse and sexual violence.


 Interested in becoming a partner of UK SAYS NO MORE?

We’d love to hear from you!

You can contact us by email at uksaysnomore@hestia.org or by phone at 020 7378 3170.


 

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February 2018: News Roundup
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