A WOMAN on a night out has told of her ordeal as a student union launches a campaign against sexual harassment.
The University of Southampton Students’ Union launched the ‘Southampton says Enough’ campaign on campus on Thursday night.
In the space of about a year, nearly 15,000 violent and sexual crimes were reported in the city between October 2021 and September 2022.
The campaign is calling for more to be done to keep people safe at night, including better lighting and CCTV. It comes as Southampton City Council is poised to cut street lights.
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Students shared their own experiences with bullying and how important it is not to blame the victim since it is so common.
A 21-year-old student, who did not want to be named, told the Echo: “It’s personal for a lot of people, that’s why it’s so important, even if you haven’t faced it yourself, you know someone who has.
“It’s the underbelly of every interaction we have as women. It’s the underbelly of the club scene. Don’t dress a certain way. Watch your drinks.
“This campaign is about shifting the blame to the victim. We don’t blame someone for not watching their drinks.
“I have suffered sexual harassment and domestic violence.
“It doesn’t mean it’s over. It’s about supporting the people of Southampton.
“I got punched in a venue in Southampton. It happened last year. Someone tried to corner me and I assumed it was me. I was described as very hostile and I tried to leave.
“I never reported it. Since I don’t drink. Some people’s reaction was ‘don’t you know they were trying to hit you.’
“They look at a victim and blame them for being a victim. Sometimes you freeze. There’s a narrative that you’re weak. They don’t tell the story of people who are struggling.”
The union’s director of students and women, Lorna Selby, said harassment “is more common than you would like it to be”.
The 19-year-old said: “Luckily I haven’t experienced it but I have friends who have.
“Everyone knows someone who has been through it. Southampton is particularly bad for it.
“It’s definitely something that’s so important to fight against. The way to do that is through education, awareness and more protection.”
Aycha Ates-Di Adamo, Vice President of Welfare and Community of the union, organized the campaign.
Aycha said: “We are aware that more needs to be done, especially regarding the safety of our students and the constant danger of streetlights going out at night in the city.
“We stand ready to work with important stakeholders to advance a tougher and more rigorous agenda to address sexual assault and misconduct.”
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Source: ‘Southampton says enough’ sexual harassment campaign launch