Reclaim the Night Nottingham protest and march

Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week in Nottingham will attempt to raise awareness of sexual violence and show support to survivors.

The awareness week falls from February 6th to 12th and will see University of Nottingham Light up the Night and host a safe night out.

Sue Warriner, who works with women’s charity Soroptimist International, said about the week: “It’s very important that people are aware that these things happen.

“I think a very large percentage of people don’t imagine it happens to many people and it actually does.

“And [people should] know that they’re not on their own if it’s happening to them and that there is support available.”

Sue mentioned that they hope to see more support shown during this week for the charities and places that help victims and survivors as there is little money available for them.

The week’s aim is to allow people to talk about their experiences as well as offering support.

Sue said: “The MeToo movement has made it a lot more acceptable to talk about it [sexual violence] I think and the various things that have been in the media have made it much more acceptable to actually admit to it and say ‘me too’ and so many women would say me too if you asked them.”

The week sees events being hosted around the UK to promote awareness and offer safe spaces for survivors and other alike.

“It became more and more apparent throughout my time at university that there is little to no support for survivors from the university”
Yasmin King, University of Nottingham medical student

Amalia Ried, a Nottingham Trent University student and Campaign Coordinator for NTSU’s Survivors Support Network, spoke of her own experiences, saying: “Last year, I was a victim of sexual violence and to be honest with you it was just those first few months, it’s very hazy… I was just so lost, nobody else I knew had experienced what I experienced.

“I felt a lot of stigma, that a lot of it was my fault, like I was so stupid.

“I felt really, really lonely.”

The University of Nottingham will be holding events across the week, which will lead by Students Against Sexual violence and Sexism (SASS).

Yasmin King, the chair of SASS, said: “We have a few [events], there is a “Light Up The Night” event to show solidarity with survivors of sexual violence and a Safe Night Out to pop world’s Gladrags event, which is also celebrating LGBTQ+ history month.”

The Light up the Night event is a way for students to come together with lights, glitter, or anything sparkly and bright to show solidarity with survivors of sexual violence.

Yasmin added: “It became more and more apparent throughout my time at university that there is little to no support for survivors from the university, and little to no efforts to reduce the rate of sexual violence in the university population.

“Last year our student magazine ran a wom*n’s safety investigation, in which I shared my testimony for the first time other than one or two close friends.

“It was hard, but somehow just doing something gave me a little bit of hope that things are changing.

“I found myself really struggling with a sense of lack of justice and hope for wom*n and survivors and kept asking myself ‘why is no one doing anything?’

“And my (very wonderful) partner said ‘why don’t you?’

“And here we are.”

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