Like so many, we were saddened by the death of Sarah Everard last week, it is a stark reminder that women and girls are still not safe, even in the arms of those who are supposed to protect us. All of our thoughts are with Sarah's family and friends right now.
This tragic news has taken place within our local community. So we understand that for our students, this will feel very real. We know you may feel upset, angry and overwhelmed by this news, so please find a list of helpful resources below.
The level of outrage we have seen is justified and necessary, and we hope that this call for action will result in changes. However, we acknowledge that many women have suffered violence at the hands of men who have not had their moment of recognition or justice; Bibaa Henry, Nicole Smallman and Blessing Olusegun, to name a few.
Women and girls should not have to live their lives in fear; they should feel safe in public spaces in the UK. It is not the job of a woman to change their behaviour and find ways to protect themselves, but for men to change theirs, and so we ask that male members of our community speak-up, and create change within their networks, and we will be working with those we support as a Union to make sure that this is central to the culture they create.
We will take a zero-tolerance stand on violence against women at South Bank students' union and we believe that everyone needs to take progressive actions to make a positive and long-lasting change. This will involve reflection on practices and actions which may have directly or indirectly negatively impacted women’s safety and well-being.
This includes SBSU. We will not have always got things right and with a new Union being built, and a new direction of travel set, we will use this moment of change in SBSU’s history to look deeper at how we could have done better in the past, and how we can truly ensure the safety of women, girls and all marginalised folk in the work we do.
Your Students' Union President Hattie and VP Welfare Ferdous will be discussing how we can take this forward and will update you on how you can be involved in shaping this work in the coming days.
South Bank Students Union!