Women Friendly Leeds Call for Action – Safety Inequalities for Women

Women Friendly Leeds supports and stands with all women and girls who have been affected by the news of Sarah Everard’s murder, or who have themselves experienced any unwelcome attention whether sexual, verbal, physical or online.

We know that safety has always been a huge concern for women and girls, and it is disheartening that it has taken such a horrific event for it to become a prominent issue.

We have a right to live our lives feeling safe without fear or prejudice, at home, when we are out and when we are in the streets.

We demand a shift in perception when addressing issues of women being abused, attacked, assaulted and murdered on the streets.

It is not about “women shouldn’t dress a certain way,” or “shouldn’t be out after dark” or about women continually talking about their experiences and how they feel. It’s about society recognising the inequalities that women face, and by society educating each other about the effects these behaviours have and how unacceptable they are.

The focus now needs to be on men to challenge other men’s behaviour and actively listen and amplify our voices.

We invite our male allies to take a stand, challenge their peers; to talk about it, and to act to support women.

We invite you to make and deliver a “pledge” for Women Friendly Leeds, that will help make Leeds a safer city for women.

Women Friendly Leeds are also concerned at the scenes of how women were treated by the police at the vigil in London at the weekend, and the abuse of power that was demonstrated. Thankfully those scenes weren’t replicated in Leeds.

We share national concerns about how proposed changes to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, could silence women’s voices more, which could indirectly increase institutional violence against women.

Evidence from the charity Women in Prison, shows that culturally diverse women will be disproportionately impacted if the Bill is passed. These women are more likely to be over policed, criminalised and receive harsher treatment if it is passed.

Women Friendly Leeds has had the issue of women’s safety in Leeds at the forefront of our messaging and are going to continue to act to share women’s voices. We have been and will continue to gather local evidence to highlight the issue, and we will share this, making recommendations based on the findings.

We have started to challenge and invite actioned support from the leaders across the city and in your neighbourhoods.

Join and support us by joining the Women Friendly Leeds movement.

Women Friendly Leeds will continue to support all women and girls that want to exercise their right to protest and share their views. However, it is important that you know your rights before attending any physical event and that you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from COVID19.

Understandably, many of you may feel emotionally exhausted and triggered by these conversations. It is important for you to allow yourself to prioritise your wellbeing, and we stand in solidarity with you.

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