Yesterday marked a year since hundreds of islanders attended a vigil for Sarah Everard in Market Square.
The event, organised by a group of local women, also sought to protest violence, harassment, and abuse against women in conjunction with the movement in the UK known as #reclaimthesestreets.
The national protests took place in response to the murder of Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped and murdered by a serving MET police officer while she walked home in London.
A number of actions have been taken over the last year in response to the event, including: Bailiwick Law Enforcement launching an awareness campaign, some bars and nightclubs introducing policies to aid women’s safety and the addition of an awareness campaign to the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education curriculum for 16-year-olds.
Pictured: Hundreds of islanders attended the vigil and protest on 23 March 2021.
A recent poll on the Guernsey Women’s Collective Facebook page, set up by organisers of last year’s vigil, indicated that local women continue to feel unsafe.
Express reported in February that Guernsey was featured on a global website which records users experiences of sexual assault and harassment.
Six incidents had been logged in Guernsey at that time. This has increased to more than 25 entries, including: groping, sexual assault, flashing, catcalling and feeling unsafe.
Guernsey Women’s Collective co-founder Daisy Chapple commented: “Despite the numerous events that have happened since the vigil, including the Girls Night In boycott, there are still issues in Guernsey surrounding sexual assault and women not feeling safe".
Pictured: Guernsey features on a website which allows users to record incidents of harassment.
Miss Chapple continued: “In a community as small as ours, it can be difficult for some people to imagine such a wide-spread issue, but I would encourage people to look at resources like the “She’s a Crowd” website and, more importantly, to listen to the women in your lives.
“We still don’t feel safe, and that’s an issue we should all be concerned about.”
Guernsey Police have responded to islanders concerns with the launch of its “#showsomerespect” campaign with the support of the Committee for Home Affairs.
A spokesman for Guernsey Police said the campaign aims to “instigate a culture change surrounding violence, intimidation and sexual assault against women and girls, particularly in the night time economy".
Deputy Chief Officer Ian Scholes, said: "This issue is an extremely important one, and that has only been made clearer by tragic events nationally in the last year. There is a need for people's attitudes to change.
"Some people will argue their behaviour is harmless or was the norm 'back in the day', but the reality is that it.”
Pictured: Guernsey Police have engaged with the community about women's safety.
Guernsey Police also liaised with the organisers of the Girls Night In event, which saw a boycott of pubs and clubs in town on 19 November 2021.
One Girls Night In organiser, who wished to remain anonymous, said they were encouraged by police awareness of the issues.
“There has been progress on these issues since the vigil last year and to have had the police contact us and launch their campaign has been hugely encouraging. I think events over the last year have been successful in highlighting that harassment, sexual assault and abuse are, unfortunately, commonplace in Guernsey.
"Whilst both men and women are victims of these crimes, the cold hard fact is that these crimes disproportionately impact women and, particularly over this year, Guernsey has seen that women have had enough.”
Pictured: A Girls Night In boycott was held in November 2021 in protest of harassment in bars and clubs.
Deputy Chief Officer Sholes added: “Violence and intimidation against women and girls doesn't just take place in one environment, nor in one demographic. We, along with the Committee for Home Affairs, are looking at how we can make changes across the board, both internally and externally, to improve these situations and instigate this culture change more widely.
“We are working on further initiatives with a range of partner organisations which we will announce in due course.
"We know that anyone can be the victim of violence or inappropriate behaviour, regardless of age or gender. Women are victim to these behaviours much more regularly and the #showsomerespect campaign puts the emphasis on them for that reason, but we are here to support anyone who is a victim of such behaviour."
Pictured: Guernsey Police #showsomerespect campaign (Credit: Bailiwick Law Enforcement).
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