Reclaim These Streets has joined forces with Shout Out UK to deliver comprehensive consent education classes to students across the UK
A YouGov report published this year by the APPG for UN Women found that 7 out of 10 women in Britain have experienced some form of sexual harassment in a public space and called for local grassroots campaigns and authorities to “Work on changing wider attitudes towards what is acceptable behaviour and what should not be tolerated”.
Many students argue that the current provisions for consent education are not enough and in March, a website titled ‘Everyone’s Invited’ gathered testimonies of over 10,000 allegations made by school pupils, detailing instances of sexual violence and abuse.
Furthermore, a study by the Higher Education Policy Institute found that 58% of student respondents believe they should pass a test on sexual consent before entering university.
Now, Reclaim These Streets, a group created out of the collective grief garnered by the death of Sarah Everard in early March and Shout Out UK, a Political and Media Literacy organisation have come together to provide consent classes.
The classroom provides a safe space for students to discuss these issues with their peers, and with a trusted educational professional who can help facilitate productive and civil discussions, and offer additional support to those who need it.
Matteo Bergamini, CEO, Shout Out UK, said;
“We are proud to support this amazing group in tackling this problem in the classroom. Much like Political and Media Literacy, consent education is often absent in schools. Considering that a recent poll has shown that 7 out of 10 women in Britain experience some form of sexual harassment in a public space, as a man I feel it is my obligation to help tackle an issue pervasive within my gender. No, it’s not all men, but it is predominantly men, so let’s stop being triggered and making excuses, and instead work together to find a solution.”
Anna Birley, Co-founder, Reclaim These Streets said;
“It isn’t OK that we grow up being told that it’s fine when a boy pulls our hair because it means he likes us. We have an opportunity to change that damaging narrative, and to engage boys and girls in a conversation about consent and respect, so that the next generation of men can champion women’s right to walk unmolested and unharassed in all public spaces. We’re delighted to work with Shout Out UK on this – they have an amazing record of working in schools and helping young people grapple with many of the most important and contentious issues of the day.”
Caroline Nokes MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee said;
“Every woman I know has experienced public sexual harassment of some form, and so it is critical that we tackle the culture and attitudes that embolden some men to behave this way. This new partnership is a step in the right direction, working with students and teachers to have meaningful conversations about consent, respect and gender.”