Trigger warning: violence against women, death, police violence, and sexual assault
The last week has been extremely upsetting and devastating for so many of us, as we watched the news about Sarah Everard’s disappearance and murder develop, and witnessed the shocking events at the vigil in Clapham Common this weekend. Our thoughts are with Sarah’s family, friends, and loved ones at this time, and with all of the women who have unfortunately related to this devastating story on a personal level.
As a students’ union in London, we understand that so many of our students have been personally impacted by this news and many women at KCLSU and King's are feeling extremely distressed. We want to extend our full solidarity and support to you and emphasise that any form of harassment and violence against women is never okay, whether on or outside of campus.
We know that as a police officer was charged with Sarah’s murder, this time is particularly difficult for black women and women of colour, and our students from marginalised communities, who have to regularly navigate police violence. Our thoughts also go out to the families, friends, and loved ones of the black women and women of colour who have been victims of similar, gendered violence, such as Blessing Olusegun, Nicola Smallman, and Bibaa Henry.
Any instance of harassment, violence, and assault is never the victim’s fault. We have a Zero Tolerance policy in place at KCLSU in regards to these cases and will continue implementing this to support our students.
If you need support, or to talk to someone, you can find details of free, 24/7 counselling available to you on our Wellbeing Hub here. Our Advice caseworkers can support you to file an official complaint if you have experienced any harassment on campus. You can also find out more about It Stops Here, and their anonymous disclosure tool here. Students in our pubs and cafes can also “Ask for Angela,” and our trained venue staff will give support to any student who needs it and escalate the issue accordingly.
We hope our male students have reflected on how they can support women on and outside of campus. The countless powerful anecdotal stories shared by women this week have reinforced the need for men to be involved in the conversation, and that it is not women’s responsibility to ensure men know how to behave appropriately towards women in public or private situations.
As an officer team, we are always here to support and listen to you. Last year, the previous officer team worked on the KNOW campaign against domestic violence, and you can read the Information Guide and Support and Contacts Guide if you need more information or direct support. This year, Heena, your Vice President for Postgraduate students, has been working on a harassment campaign, which will discuss and bring awareness to a range of types of harassment students may face, so keep an eye out for that in our Officers' Update in the coming weeks.
We would also like to invite students to join in on the Justice for Women: Organising Call Zoom event on the 22nd March, from 6-7 pm. The event, held by AUBSU and NUA SU, will be a safe, relaxed space to write letters to local MPs asking for support around justice for women, and a space to remember Sarah Everard and the other women who've suffered from violence or harassment.
As always, if there is anything else we can help you with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at [email protected].
KCLSU Student Officer Team 2020/21