SURVIVORS of sexual violence defied police and regional authorities at a women’s safety event in Warwickshire.
About 120 people signed up to attend the virtual summit hosted by Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western earlier this month.
It follows his campaign against male violence across the region.
Five guest speakers were asked about effective educational campaigns in schools and how one could be implemented in the county.
They also talked about the value of having county streetlights on at night – and the importance of feeling safe.
Mr. Western said: “My summit on the safety of women and vulnerable people was inspiring and motivational.
“We heard from important guest speakers of all ages and even people who shared very personal experiences.
“It was helpful to hear from the experts on how an education campaign could be conducted to eradicate misogynistic views and behavior.
“There will be a lot more to come on this and please contact me if you want to be involved or have any ideas for my campaign.”
Tasha Hardaker, chair of the University of Warwick branch of the student campaign group ‘It’s Happening Here’, spoke about the challenges of being a university student – and being a survivor of a blitz attack .
“The summit was extremely important as it brought together many voices from the movement against sexual violence – from different backgrounds and areas of expertise.
“I think we can all learn from each other and to keep things going, conversations have to turn into actions – and openness to change is an integral part.”
Neil Henderson, chief executive of Warwick-based sexual violence charity Safeline, revealed the organization supported 4,000 people in Warwickshire – but claimed likely victims were more likely to be tens of thousands.
He said: “I fully support the campaign – it highlights a really important issue that needs to be addressed.
“The survey highlighted what we know from our customers that many women and girls do not feel safe in Warwickshire.
“I hope Matt’s campaign brings real and lasting change to the region, because women and girls desperately need it.”
Det Ch Supt Suzanne Baker, Chief of Protective Services, answered tough questions about force reductions to nine specially trained domestic violence officers last year and her poor record on rape convictions.
She said domestic violence was the force’s top priority and accounted for 40% of all reported violent crime incidents.
Other guests included Jenni Muskett, deputy chief executive of the Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, and Dr Anna Bull, founding member of the higher education sexual misconduct think tank, The 1752 Group.
Email [email protected] to find out how to contribute to the campaign.