A new campaign to stop violence against women

Guys and girls with cocktails enjoying party in night club

We all have a role to play in tacking sexual violence, that is the central message in a new campaign ‘Step Up’, unveiled this week by Isle of Wight Council.

Supported by the Home Office’s Safety of Women at Night fund, the campaign is targeted at challenging how some people think and act on a night out on the Island. Thought-provoking questions like, ‘If you bought a drink, would you feel like she owes you?’ are being shared on posters in venues like pubs and clubs, organisations such as sports clubs, and on social media.

Councillor Ian Stephens, Isle of Wight Council cabinet member for community safety, said: “It’s a sad reality that most women or girls will have experienced some type of harassment or abuse in public spaces. Time and time again, the onus for keeping themselves safe has been placed on women and girls. This campaign is designed to make us all stop and think about the attitudes we may have written off as ‘normal’ or ‘flirting’ in the past and asks us all to call it out if we see or hear something that’s not right.

“Around 80 per cent of reported sexual offences on the Island have a female victim, with a high percentage committed against women under 24 years old. Island men have a vital role in helping make the Island a safer environment. Call out the ‘banter’ or challenge your mate if he’s making sexually explicit comments or offer support if you see someone being hassled in a bar or club.”

To find out more about what you can do to help change attitudes and tackle violence against women and girls, or to find local support if you’ve experienced harassment or abuse visit iwight.com/communitysafety.