Finally, we’re having the discussion I’ve been trying to start for years now, it’s just a shame that an innocent woman had to die in order for this to begin. I want to start by giving a disclaimer that this article will have strong language, talk about mature themes such as sexual assault and rape, and it’s just generally not suitable for younger audiences or people who get distressed when reading the topics, I will be bringing up. Your safety is the most important thing. I also want to say that I mean absolutely no disrespect to anyone, I am simply here to explain what is going on and so are those I spoke to.
About a week after the discussion of women’s safety became extremely present on mainstream media, I knew I had to talk about it
What’s going on at the moment, how it’s affecting people, I speak about this so much, I decided to get more people to talk about it and include my input to the situation. However, I soon realised, I have done this sort of thing a lot. Some examples can be seen here, here and here. Since I write about this so much, I decided to ✨spice things up✨ and I asked a favour from some of my friends.
I wrote up different questions in a questionnaire and I got them to answer them honestly, and I’ve put them all here!
To make this a fair test, I didn’t give them any of my input before or during them answering the questions, made each of the questions the same, and told them it would be totally confidential.
For certain answers I have received, I may crop or leave out/slightly edit some questions. Not the overall message, I’m just going to ensure they are not too long or reiterate similar things which have already been stated.
I asked seventeen different people, and I have changed their names to protect their identities. I just want to say a huge thank you to those who did this for me, it means so much and I am so grateful to know people as incredible as you guys, especially considering I don’t always speak to you all that frequently.
The sixteen people I have chosen are essentially the future. They are 16-17 year olds, we all went to the same secondary school and now all attend college/sixth form. I know this isn’t a diverse mix, but this doesn’t make what they say any less important. The lovely people who helped me are:
- James, 17, male
- Daniel, 17, male
- Elizabeth, 16, female
- Avis, 17
- Bailey, 16
- Andrew, 16, male
- George, male
- Teresa, 17, female
- Jason, 17, male
- Ryan, 17, male
- Betty, 16, female
- Amelia, 16, female
- Jeffree, 17, male
- Ana, 17, female
- Brent, 16, male
- Harper, 16, female
Now, after that extremely long introduction, here is the Q&A I had with those sixteen people ❤
- Do you feel safe walking alone?
James – Yes
Daniel – I do for the most part. If it’s late and I’m on my own I feel a bit sketched out. Generally, I’m always cautious but I’m not scared.
Eliza – Not really, but I guess it would differ depending on the situation.
Avis – When I am with a group of people especially guy friends, I do feel safe but, when I am alone, I don’t always feel safe.
Bailey – No strong answer, as I don’t walk alone very much.
Andrew – Depends – usually on time and area.
Teresa – No
Jason – No
Ryan – I feel safe walking home by myself most of the time but not late at night
Betty – No
Amelia – No, especially not at night.
Jeffree – Yes
Ana – no, not at all
Harper – no I don’t feel safe when walking alone, especially at night
Brent – I don’t feel unsafe unless it is dark. [still wary though]
- Do you worry about the safety of the women you care about?
James – I do
Daniel – Absolutely. I always worry about them
Eliza – I do yes
Avis – Definitely. When walking home from school or after hanging out with friends and having to go separate ways home I [think] I should probably walk my female friends all the way home just in case something happens. Which is horrible that I actually have to think about that.
Bailey – I do worry about them.
Andrew – Yes. It’s a scary place for women with creepy men catcalling and things.
George – yes
Teresa – yes
Jason – Yes
Ryan – I absolutely care about the safety of the women I care about.
Betty – yes
Amelia – Yes definitely
Jeffree – Of course
Ana – yes, a lot
Harper – I worry about pretty much any other women I know
Brent – yes
- What do you think the government can do to ensure this gets better?
James – Spread more awareness about the subject as well as providing more in-depth information to young women and men about their safety.
Daniel – I think that there could be more foot police patrols around high-risk areas like alleys or secluded paths. But other than that, it comes down to people to not be pieces of shit.
Eliza – I don’t think it’s something that the government can fix. I also feel like a lot of the ideas that females would come up with, many men would feel are sexist.
Avis – Maybe if we can start trying to enforce this idea of “No means no” at schools earlier on things could change. We also need to get rid of this idea of “boys will be boys” and “she asked for it”. There are just so many toxic ideologies embedded into society from a young age.
Bailey – Rather than focusing everything on the female population, they should be finding a balance of resources, education and information for both women and men as to how they should be acting in situations such as these. And I honestly feel like the government need to be more open in discussions because they don’t seem to be as bothered with protecting women
Andrew – Maybe better lighting in the streets at night? And/or harsher sentences as a deterrent. If you rape someone and only get five years, that is an unfair sentence as the woman is affected for life
Teresa – Teach children better. Make sure people know the importance of consent, not only consent but enthusiastic consent and that anything less than yes means you should step away. Teach the importance of supporting people after going through that kind of experience.
Jason – I think they can and should put an emphasis on the safety and protection of women who are victims of assault of any kind, and they should try to keep an up-to-date list of people who have been reported for offences, and they should always talk to the parent of a young offender no matter what the offence.
Ryan – I believe more education is required and societal norms need to be shifted.
Amelia – I’m not particularly sure about what they can do because they can’t control the actions of each individual person.
Jeffree – I don’t believe the government can do anything.
Ana – Make it legal for women to carry some sort of self-defence.
Harper – they need to work harder to educate boys on the issue and make me of an effort to prosecute for rapists and assaulters cause too many get away freely
Brent – honestly believe there is very little that the government could do that would help the issue. I think that feeling on edge and cautious is a good thing as it means you know when to keep yourself safe but when it comes to feeling in danger the only real thing that could solve that is stopping the people that cause this feeling.
- Do you think women should have to go to any more safety precautions?
James – I don’t think women should have to in the first place
Daniel – women shouldn’t have to worry at all no matter what they’re doing or what they wear but the unfortunate reality is that some people make that impossible
Eliza – I don’t think that it is fair that females have to more careful when walking around in their own neighbourhood than what men have to.
Avis – I mean, there’s already so many different “precautions” women have to go through, I hope there isn’t more.
Bailey – Unfortunately, for women to be able to stay safe alone, they may have to which is really sad.
Andrew – I don’t think women should have to because they should feel as safe as a man should. But during this time, it’s a good idea to take precautions such as rape alarms and things.
Teresa – Women are already doing enough, more than we should.
Jason – No, I don’t and I feel as If they take too many already. They should never have to feel as unsafe as they do, and women should be able to feel as if they can leave the house without fear of being assaulted.
Ryan – I believe they should go to a level they feel comfortable with doing but it is disgusting that they should have to take any precautions in the first place
Betty – They need to, but they shouldn’t have to
Amelia – Women already do everything that they can to keep themselves safe and recent events have proven that even that is apparently not enough. At this point the issue is not women not doing enough protect themselves, it’s the men (obvs not all) that feel that they are entitled to women’s bodies.
Jeffree – I feel they should have something to protect themselves if they are walking alone
Ana – Yes, they should be able to carry some sort of protection just in case.
Harper – I don’t think it should be a women’s responsibility to put in any more effort than they already do
Brent – If the woman feels unsafe it isn’t their fault. I think that only men can really change this.
- What can men do when walking to make women feel safer?
James – I don’t know what men could do to make women feel safer while walking, since the same would apply to women and what they could do to make some men feel safer while walking
Daniel – keep their distance, cross the road, go on the phone or just straight up go another way if it’s late and the woman is clearly nervous. I always feel so bad walking close to women on the street because I can tell they’re on edge and it is just so sad how our society is like that.
Avis – Although this goes out to women as well, if they see a woman being harassed on the street or looking very uncomfortable while talking to someone, going over and calmly helping the woman away from the situation, like pretending to be a friend and asking where they’ve been or something like that, could really save a life.
Bailey – I think for men, they really need to give up the whole macho thing. Sometimes trying to be all big and strong and protective of women doesn’t always get the right results we need and instead only makes people see women as weak
Andrew – Tough situation, similar to being a teenage boy, smile and wave politely, carry on with your day seems to calm people down and helps make people happy
Teresa – Cross the road, call a friend. Or at least not get annoyed when we do things to protect ourselves if they won’t.
Jason – Men can cross the road, or call someone, or should attempt to get ahead of women so they can feel safer.
Ryan – Men can keep the eyes and thoughts to themselves not everyone is there for you talk to complete what you’re doing without disrupting others also if you’re continually going in the same directions as someone change your route, so they feel safer
Amelia – Walk female friends’ home if it’s dark or dusk, cross the street/don’t get near to a woman you don’t know when they’re walking alone, please don’t catcall
Jeffree – Protect them making them feel safer
Ana – If their friends with the women just walk them home, but if their a strange cross the road and walk on the other side or walk slowly so they’re not close to the women.
Harper – educating themselves is a big one, and standing up for girls if they notice something bad happening, calling out their mates if they say something like make a joke, and making efforts to look unthreatening when walking near a girl, or like crossing the road or something
Brent – try to make sure you aren’t walking behind a woman. if you are then cross over to the other side of the road. or if this isn’t possible stop for a while to make good distance between you.
- What are your thoughts on changing the curriculum in order to try avoiding these issues?
James – More information on the subject to educate men and women about their safety and ways to know when a situation could pose threat
Daniel – 100% schools should teach the subject just like they teach anything else. Don’t avoid the subject! People should learn how to behave.
Eliza – I think that during younger teenage years such as year 7 to 11 could have a topic about sexual crime would help to educate young people about the world that we live in and how we can avoid incidents
Avis – should be introduced taught about “no means no” and issues around it but maybe said in a more positive-reinforced setting and sprinkling the teaching of these kind attitudes throughout multiple lessons so it becomes the normal for the children?
Bailey – I think everyone needs to be educated in these types of topics. Because past generations were never opening about these types of things it’s left our generation to speak up about it and make changes so that we won’t have to see this again in the future
Andrew – Great idea, ensure consent is not “just a box ticking exercise”, it needs to be something important.
Teresa – I completely agree the curriculum should be changed. The argument that young people shouldn’t have sex and so shouldn’t be taught about those things is stupid. People will have sex at any age, and no one can stop them, they should just know the importance of consent and safety. And it’s not like when we get older the teachings around it changes.
Jason – We should change the curriculum, so consent and sexual assault is more important than it already is.
Ryan – I believe curriculum particularly in younger education needs drastic changes. The first years of education the focus should be upon behaving as any decent person should
Betty – I think they should change it to better educate girls and boys about the reality of the world
Amelia – I think that schools should educate students more on these issues because it’s a very real and relevant problem.
Jeffree – something needs to change for people to feel safe
Ana – They could spend more time explaining it and showing documentaries.
Harper – I think they need to change the curriculum, education kids from a young age will help engrave it in their minds that this stuff is not okay
Brent – I think it is extremely important that schools educate us better on these issues.
- What about false conviction rates? Fake rape claims? How do we avoid these miscarriages of justice?
James – I believe there are many women and men that will use fake rape claims to get what they want in selective situations; I believe the only way to ensure the avoidance of such claims would be by intensive investigation on both parties to understand the exact situation that took place
Daniel – The amount of fake rape claims is tiny in comparison to actual rape claims or rape that never goes reported. I think people who make fake rape claims, male or female, should be punished but it is by no means reason to Besmirch someone else’s claim.
Avis – Although it’s a very small percentage compared to true convictions, it is still a big issue and one used to put down women who have been raped so that the rapists get off easy. I have no idea what can be done of this issue, but I hope we can find one soon.
Bailey – I have a specific thing to say about false accusations and claims and it’s tied with how, despite things are now being talked about, stigma is still around and there’s now the romanticisation of [these] serious concepts which makes it incredibly difficult to gain the right balance
Andrew – It’s hard to prove without evidence, for both sides, the only way is DNA and witnesses. False convictions happen less often than rape cases being ignored, but you cannot always instantly believe women because it could ruin a man’s life, but you can’t believe the man as that could ruin the life of the woman. I don’t know what to do.
Jason – I am aware that it is something that happens. I feel like these should be made aware of.
Ryan – There are already laws in place for such things if it’s clear that the accusation is made up, prosecution for deformation of character and filing a false police report should take place but more emphasis on believing the accused more methods should really be placed into preventing rape and femicides than preventing a smaller issue crime. If those two can be resolved I am sure the fake accusations would be more clear
Betty – people should be prosecuted for fake claims
Amelia – This is a difficult question because you get caught up between victim blaming and “innocent until proven guilty” and protecting the public. In certain cases where evidence is lacking, proving/disproving cases can be difficult. I don’t know how this issue can be overcome.
Jeffree – feel if someone files a false rape claim they should get the same punishment as what the falsely convicted [would have] due to them ruining their lives.
Brent – there is very little that can be done to prevent them without causing controversy over the fact that the rape claim could be true.
- Do you think that tea video helps? What else could we do?
for reference, this is the video I am talking about:
James – it touches on the subject in a very joking manner, it would make more of a difference if it was presented in a very serious tone as well as [providing] information about the consequences of their actions
Daniel – it really is not serious. If you’re trying to teach kids something important, teach it to them seriously. Consent is such an important topic.
Eliza – Although it has stuck in a lot of people’s heads after seeing it, of those people a lot have clowned that video thinking it is all just a joke.
Avis – I believe it set out with the right idea, it slowly has become more of a joke than a video educating young people on a serious issue.
Bailey – It has a meaning but if people are going to be anything like us, they won’t take it seriously
Andrew – The tea video is a good illustration, but kids look at it and don’t see the underlying message. At the ages of 10-14 it could help, but above then, it won’t help at all and could be detrimental.
Teresa – The tea video is awful. It is a joke in schools, and it takes away from the incredibly important subject. We should not be making jokes around the importance of this teaching. We should teach it in a way that doesn’t shy away from the message, regardless of the age.
Jason – I do not think that the tea video helps at all because in schools it is just a joke, and it needs to be addressed more seriously.
Ryan – The tea video is awful it is not specific enough it euphemises a topic of high importance the point must be clear of the severity and the unforgivable nature of the crime. Greater sex education is required perhaps at a younger age particularly about sexual assault harassment and rape and the clear definitions of what they are as many young impressionable people may not have been aware that they have been taken advantage of
Betty – I think there needs to be more open and more frequent conversations and demonstrations about it for everyone
Harper – the tea video is confusing, especially to younger kids and makes it seem too much like a fun quirky little thing when it’s a serious issue, when they can show us scary videos for things like road safety but not rape you can tell there’s an issue. they need both hard-hitting videos and proper education on the topic, not some funny little YouTube video that they just ignore
Brent – While it is useful for getting the message across and is a national thing that everyone understands and remembers, it turns the issue into a joke.
- What do you think about the hashtag not all men?
James – I agree as I know that a lot of men are very against any of these actions
Daniel – clearly not all men harass or rape, but the fact still remains that any man can be intimidating. Even I could be considered intimidating, so I know I need to keep that in mind.
Eliza – I believe that it is correct. Not all men would mistreat women like some do however, because of the small amount that do, women are led to believe that all men are the same. Which in my opinion isn’t right?
Avis –I think all its doing is drowning out the women and the men who are talking about issues involving horrible men.
Bailey – I understand that not all men fit under the categories but the number of men who are involved is just too much and has become a sign of how toxic it is
Andrew – It’s factually correct, but equally, if that leads to a woman trusting all men and end up having negative experience with them, this will be detrimental in the long run
George– it’s very true
Teresa – Yes, it isn’t all men, but it’s enough men and I believe that the men who say “it’s not all men” are the ones most likely to be misogynistic or have the ability to sexually assault as they wouldn’t feel the need to disagree if they weren’t insecure about their actions or thoughts towards women.
Jason – I understand that it isn’t All men, but the men and women who use it tend to be aggressive and seem to be part of the reason why the hate crimes exist. But I would like for the message to be given how it isn’t all men. Some look out for women, and they also want to protect those they care about.
Ryan – I think the hashtag not all men is stupid, shifting the conversation into a direction it doesn’t need to take in the first place it shows how little the majority of men care. they only begin to care when it harms their reputation. There is a distinct lack of empathy and lack of will to do what is right and the conversation must remain at the focal point of the problem preventing future generations from suffering.
Betty – I think it’s a fair point to make but it’s being overused and not always helping
Amelia – Obviously not all men are like this. We know that. The issue is that it’s ENOUGH men that it’s a serious problem. The problem is that we don’t know WHICH men and therefore feel a degree of uncertainty and fear around them all.
Harper – everyone knows the situation is not all men, no one thinks every man is a rapist or sexual assaulter, but statistically it’s enough to be scared, people are afraid of dying in a car accident, but not all cars are going to crash, and as a woman you’re more likely to die at the hands of a man then a car, so I think it’s perfectly justified to protect yourself, cause these bad men prey on the naive and vulnerable.
Brent – I think that the meaning behind the hashtag is correct in the sense that it isn’t all men but the fact that people feel the need to bring it up almost shows guilt. it shows that they care more about their reputation than the safety of women and that is disgusting.
- What are your thoughts on victim blaming?
James – I don’t agree with blaming the victim for the actions that took place
Daniel – people who victim blame are just straight up pieces of shit. Nothing, *nothing* could possibly make the victim at fault. “They were wearing a short skirt” and? They don’t dress for you. Fuck right off.
Eliza – In my opinion, the process of victim blaming is fucked. The statement of ’she is asking for it’ makes me sick to my stomach as thinking about a woman as an object because she is wearing certain clothing.
Avis – Victim blaming is horrible. Someone has gone through something absolutely mortifying and people have the audacity blame them for what happened to them. All I can think about is “Haven’t they gone through enough?”
Andrew – Very simply, it’s one of the things which lead to court cases being dropped. No woman is wearing a skirt with the intention to get raped that night. She could be wearing a mini bikini with the Pornhub logo on, you do not touch that woman unless she explicitly says it’s okay.
Teresa – Victim blaming is awful. No one would ask for the trauma and PTSD that those actions lead to. No one would ask for the judgment received after people find out. No one would ask for that feeling of helplessness and disgust. Victims often blame themselves after going through that, why should you add to that.
Jason – What happens cannot be excused, and you should never blame the victim for what happened. People should be able to wear whatever they want and not be told that their outfit choice makes them a victim.
Ryan – Victim Blaming is fucking disgusting. You wouldn’t blame the seller at a store if an armed robbery takes place, it’s no different from any other crime. support is what’s required after a crime.
Betty – it’s awful in any circumstance
Amelia – Blaming women is absolutely ridiculous. The only people that can be blamed for rape are rapists.
Jeffree – Stupid, no one asks for it it’s stupid how people think people can ask for it
Ana – It’s terrible because it makes the victim feel worse about the subject and like they aren’t valid.
Harper – it’s never the victim’s fault, ever, this is a traumatic event they’ve been through and to belittle that in any way it’s such an awful thing to do
Brent – victim blaming is disgusting- the person that commits the crime is the only one at fault
- Do you think it’s in the best interest of the woman to report the assault or not? Why?
James – Yes, I do so the person in question is delt with, assuming the report for assault was genuine
Daniel – I personally think women should report their assault but I know it isn’t that easy. I think their claims should be acknowledged, respected, taken extremely seriously and investigated and the assaulter should be punished severely. Whatever makes them the most comfortable is what’s best for them.
Eliza – Certain women that have experienced sexual assault don’t feel comfortable to share with loved ones, family or friends, let alone the police.
Avis – Although as a society we are getting “better”, I still believe it’s really unsafe for women to talk about these things and come out about them. There will always be a person telling them it’s their own fault or giving them grief about the situation. It sucks. However, there are a lot of people out there now to help women and back them up. So maybe a better world isn’t so far away?
Bailey – It would be but again, people think they’re fake or just brush off it off so I don’t think it would always work
Andrew – It depends, in an ideal world, all rapes would get reported, all crimes would be convicted, but sadly that’s not how the world works. If you have enough evidence, go for it 100%, if not just for you then do it for others. If you think it will harm your mental health, then don’t do it. It sometimes ends up with guys thinking they can get away with it, but you should to anything you can to try ensuring that you get justice.
Teresa – It often depends on the situation.
Jason – I think that women should know that they can report it and have something come of it, but with the way it is handled currently, reporting it to the authorities is something that is entirely up to them. It needs to be addressed differently because not enough comes of it.
Ryan – I wish it was in the best interest of a woman to report an assault but often can lead to far greater backlash. But I personally think the first step toward changes in action for every voice that speaks out another may gain the confidence to do so and the clear increase in reports will require change from the police and greater intervention and prevention would take place as a result
Betty – if women reported it as much as it happens then it will open a lot of people’s eyes and help to progress a more efficient way of prosecuting and maybe even preventing
Amelia – you would also be protecting other women by having dangerous people taken off of the streets. However, going through the process of police interviews and trials and experiencing almost a guaranteed degree of victim blaming would be incredibly taxing on one’s mental health, having to relive awful experiences would be terribly traumatic.
Jeffree – I would rather they report it because they could get more assistance, but I don’t know about how much assistance there is for victims
Ana – I think it depends on the woman feels, if she feels that she can deal with reporting it or not.
Harper – as things are currently, i think it’s always the best idea to report, but that doesn’t mean it’s at the women’s best interest.
Brent – whether it be reporting it or telling someone you trust i think it will often be in their best interest not to keep it to themselves. while reporting it has a large chance of not resulting in any convictions, not reporting means there is no chance at all for justice.
- Is there anything else at all you want to add?
Daniel – people should just behave with basic decency. It’s really not hard. People who do assault or rape are lowlifes who can’t be bothered to stop and think. They have no empathy and I barely consider them people to be honest.
Eliza – just a bit of advice… From a personal experience I have had, do whatever you want to do with the information that you have. Whether that is reporting it to the police, keeping it between you and your friends or telling no one. Don’t feel like you are obligated to tell anyone whatever the situation.
Avis – To conclude everything I have said, the world sucks, if time, but maybe there’s hope for us yet?
Andrew – To any guys with female friends out there: try being with them as much as possible, not because men need to protect women but because it’s far less likely and no one will hurt them or try anything. If you’re considering it: think about it as if it was your daughter, sister, or mother that this was happening to and if you’re a girl, support other girls, don’t gang up on them. And the educate your sons movement is a great idea – something which my opinion has changed on over the past month.
Teresa – The issue will continue unless someone does something. Whether it’s changing the curriculum to teach the impacts that actions can have or changing the process for convictions. No matter what it is, something needs to be changed.
Jeffree – More support is needed to make people more comfortable coming forward with confidence to report an issue instead of hiding it from people
Harper – I just want to say I hope people don’t let this be another trend that dies out in a week cause it’s not popular to talk about it anymore, because that happens too much
- What questions do you have? Who for?
Daniel – what can I do as a man to make women as stress free as possible whilst going about my day-to-day life?
Andrew – For most guys: how hard is it to be a decent human being? That’s more rhetorical but, it counts.
Teresa – for any person who has ever raped or assaulted anyone. Why? What compelled you to put a person through that?
Harper – to men who say not all men, why are you so desperate to make yourself seem so good? cause to most women it makes you seem way worse than better.
Brent – I would love to know how women feel, I have had conversations with family members about their opinions and they are as expected but a range of views would be interesting.
First of all, thank you again to everyone who helped me to write that. I know that it wasn’t easy for all of you, but you all did it and it really means so much and it was interesting to hear everyone’s take on this issue.
Thank you so much for reading this incredibly long article, I really hope that it has opened your eyes and that this is a topic which will continue to be spoken about until change finally happens permanently. Similar to the BLM movement, how many more innocent people have to die until we realise we need to make a change? Hopefully no more, but until that day comes, I’ll be here shouting from the rooftops until I go hoarse.
This is one of the hardest articles I have ever had to write, but I honestly feel so much better now that I have done it. I’ve also put so much work into it, even if it doesn’t seem like it, but thank you so much for reading. Please comment your opinions because I would really love to hear them.
Stay safe, stay kind, viva le resistance baby!! (we’re bringing that back), I love you all,
xo baby, Tati xoxo