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Monday, 13 August 2012

Goodbye from your Gender Equality Representative 2011-2012

Dear All,

Thank you so much to all of you for all the wonderful work you've done over the past year.  Being the Gender Equality Representative serving Exeter Univsersity students has been an absolute honour and I am very proud to have been part of such a community of students.  People, organisations and services both internally and extenerally of the university have worked tirelessly to reduce the gender inequalities which scourge our day to day lives.  But if there's anything I have learnt working for Exeter Students' Guild over the past year, it's that a will does exist to see inequality eliminated.  You are never alone in any battle against inequality be it sexism, racism, homophobia, classism or any other characteristic which means that people are treated undeservedly differently from anybody else.  Whilst the mountain to overcome may seem insurmountable at times, once you've found all those other people out there who feel the same way you do and who have the same vision for a better world that you do and you realise you're not alone and you start working together, then suddenly things seem a lot easier and more realistic to achieve.  We construct the world we live in.  If us humans created these inequalities it means we can eliminate them too.  And so on that note, I would ask you kindly to offer the new representative, Deanna Quirke, all the support you can give her.  She's an amazing woman and will do as much as she can for you as she humanly can.  But she can't do it alone. No one can. We have to continue to work together to be the change we want to see.

Kind Regards,

Alexa Sage

Left:

Alexa Sage

Gender Equality Representative for University of Exeter Students' Guild

2011-2012

Left:

Deanna Quirke

Gender Equality Representative for University of Exeter Students' Guild

2012-2013

Fundraising success for Devon Rape Crisis Services


Well done to everyone involved in this year’s gender equality events in particular to those who were involved with Empowering Women Day and Reclaim the Night.  The money raised from these events made a combined total of :
* * * £280.89 * * *
which is an absolutely fantastic figure.  Donations will be going to Devon Rape Crisis Services, our one rape crisis centre for Devon which reopened for the first time last year after more than a decade! Whilst it is a shame that the need for such a service still exists, the work that the people at Devon RCS do vital to helping give women the support and empowerment they need to overcome the physical, emotional and psychological effects of sexual abuse and rape.  Devon RCS and Exeter University Students’ Guild have formed a wonderful relationship over the last year in which we have worked to support each other with the common objective of eliminating gender inequality for women and men and for every gender in between. We are very proud to be the first official donators to Devon RCS and hope that it may continue for as long as the service is needed.

If you have been moved by the work of Devon RCS and were not able to contribute during the gender equality events of the last year, please feel free to offer your donation directly through their website: http://www.devonrapecrisis.org.uk/donate.  And remember that money is not the only way you can help.  You can offer your help as a volunteer.  You can publicise the work of Devon RCS by word of mouth, by hosting an event, through social media so people know about the service. And don’t be afraid to use it yourself if need be.  If you choose to come forward about anything, you will be believed and you will be supported.  But most importantly, show the world through your words and actions that sexual violence is a form of gender inequality and that all forms of gender inequality are wrong.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Help us Evaluate Reclaim the Night Exeter 2012

To anyone who attended Reclaim the Night Exeter 2012 at the Cathedral Green on Sunday 10th June 2012, please could you fill on our questionnaire to help us evaluate how successful the event was or not and what we might be able to improve on the next time.

The questionnaire can be done online and it consists of only 10 short questions so it should take no more than five minutes and your input is invaluable. To complete the questionnaire just click on this link and it should open a new window in your internet browser for you: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YJC6M78
Dont forget to click 'Done' on the survey once it's finished! The survey is anonymous.

If you already filled in a paper version of the questionnaire at the event itself, please DO NOT fill out another one online because it is the same one and it would make the results inaccurate.

If you have any other comments you wanted to make, please email Alexa Sage at gender-equality@hotmail.co.uk.

In the mean time, I leave you with some pictures from what was a very heartfelt night:



Saturday, 9 June 2012

Reclaim the Night Weekend

Saturday 9th June: Children’s glass lantern painting and poster making workshop in preparation for Reclaim the Night

Today at St. Sidwell’s Community Centre from 11am-3pm in Exeter we held a fantastically successful art workshop for children to paint glass lanterns and placards.  An expertly conducted Twitter, Facebook, emailing and flyering campaign saw around 50 children come through the doors today to paint glass lanterns which will be put on display at the Reclaim the Night vigil and placards and posters which will be used during the Reclaim the Night walk.  A wonderful team of nine volunteers from Exeter Students’ Guild helped oversee the workshop and explain the message of Reclaim the Night – that of the importance of respect, kindness, love and solidarity so we can live in a happy and safe world any time of the day or night to children as young as 5.  The event also saw a lot of parents being persuaded to let some of their children stay up past their bed time for one night only to be part of Reclaim the Night! And it wasn’t just the children getting involved – teenagers, university students, adults, parents and grandparents all wanted to contribute something artistic to the Reclaim the Night event and did their fair share of glass painting, placard and banner making too!
Left: Part of the team of the fantastic Reclaim the Night volunteers gearing up for the art workshop!

Sunday 10th June: Reclaim the Night speeches, walk and vigil
The actual Reclaim the Night walk and vigil takes place tomorrow on Sunday 10th June.  The event begins at the Cathedral Green at 9pm with three speakers who are all prestigious members of the local community.  At 9.30pm there will be a walk from the Cathedral Green up the High Street to the top of Sidwell Street and back to protest against violence and harassment for women and girls on the streets at night.  Then just after 10pm we will return to the cathedral for a candlelit vigil to commemorate the suffering of women and girls across the globe.  There will also be the opportunity at the event to donate money to Devon Rape Crisis Services who see the devastating effects of sexual violence against women every day and work tirelessly to help mend women’s lives.  Please join us be you woman, man, child or animal in solidarity and support of women’s safety on the streets at night and don’t forget the banners and placards!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Vote for Devon Rape Crisis Services to be a RAG charity

To students and staff at Exeter University - please vote for Devon Rape Crisis Services to be a RAG (Raising and Giving) charity so we can help raise lots of money for an extremely worthwhile cause and a much (sadly) needed service. Devon RCS have also worked tirelessly with the Guild throughout the year and are currently coordinating a sexual violence awareness campaign for staff and students - probably time we give them something back! You can vote to nominate them by following this link on the Student Guild website: http://www.exeterguild.org/organisation/haveyoursay/elections/
Incidentally up until last year there was no rape crisis service in the whole of Devon. As a female victim of rape in Devon in early 2011 you would have had to go to Cornwall to receive this specialist support, if you were lucky enough to have afforded the travel and time and to have had the confidence to... Getting Devon's first rape crisis centre was a huge achievement and was the result of a lot of hard work from a group of extremely committed women and men. Let's help this service keep going for as long as it is needed. Hopefully one day we can eliminate the need but for now rape crisis services are a potential lifeline to the thousands of women and girls who are victims of rape and sexual abuse across the UK.
The closing date for voting is 14th June and you must be a member of the university to vote.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Sexual Violence Prevention Workshop Success

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to the Sexual Violence Prevention Workshop on Wednesday 16th March.   An extra special thank you to the professionals who contributed to leading the workshop and offered us their expertise including:
  • Fee Scott, Service Coordinator of Devon Rape Crisis Services
  • Beverley Weston, Community Safety Sergeant for Exeter
  • Sarah Bloor, Police Community Support Officer for Exeter University and surrounding areas
  • Marie Wall, Detective Sergeant for Sexual Offences
  • Emma Payne, Vice President Welfare and Community for University of Exeter Students’ Guild
Workshop content

The workshop began with an introduction from Fee and Beverley about sexual violence prevention and how their services fit into that.  They provided us with some video material that we might be able to use as part of a university campaign.  Having put up flip chart pages with posters and leaflets attached that had been produced by the police, attendees were able to evaluate these and reflect on what might be needed for a future campaign. We also brainstormed other strategies that might be useful in sexual violence prevention on campus and discussed how we could target these.  Finally Emma was able to use the opportunity to present the proposed branding for an upcoming Guild safety campaign and what else we might want to include as part of this campaign.

Moving forward

Following the workshop, it was decided that the correct posters and leaflets targeted at the right people could be a very effective method of drawing attention to the issue. We are working on getting permission to use some posters (some of which are already up on campus).  We also looked at less conventional modes of publicity such as LED torches and beer mats, and screening campaign videos before films shown to students.  The importance of highlighting sexual offences other than rape was also brought up and it was agreed that non-rape sexual assaults and sexual harassment had been neglected.  They were also identified as issues that affected a much greater number of students, many of whom may not even be aware of the illegality of such behaviour.  The new Guild safety campaign will be an umbrella to a section which will include sexual violence prevention and the police and rape crisis services are now working with the Guild to help coordinate future campaigns.

A questionnaire will be going out to all students shortly so we can ensure maximum consultation.  If you would like to receive the minutes from the workshop and/or any of the materials used, please email me, Alexa Sage, at gender-equality@hotmail.co.uk.




Sunday, 13 May 2012

Reclaim the Night, Exeter 2012

‘Reclaim the Night’ or ‘Take back the Night’ started in 1977 in West Germany and is now held in countries throughout the world. Usually in the form of a march, women come out onto the streets at night to protest against the sexual violence that so many women suffer or fear, particularly in relation to street safety at night. Not only does the event help raise awareness, but it can help give women a great sense of empowerment and sisterhood. Men have also been strong supporters of marches and vigils across the globe. Following the success of ‘Reclaim the Night’ Exeter 2011, we want to make sure this fantastic event continues and grows even larger in support!

The 2012 ‘Reclaim the Night’ is (currently unconfirmed by police) due to be taking place on Sunday 10th June 2012.  The event will start with speakers on the Cathedral Green followed by a mixed female and male march up to the top of Sidwell Street then back to the Cathedral Green for a candlelit vigil.  The event will be open to all.  On Saturday 9th June we are hoping to be hosting a glass painting workshop for young people so they can make lanterns for the vigil the following day.

Labour Students have kindly offered to take the lead on organising the event although it is open for all to join in with and is being disassociated from any political label.  The group also includes members of the Gender Equality Society, Liberal Democrat Society, Socialist Students as well as any other groups and individuals who wish to join in organising the event.  Weekly meetings take place to help get the event organised and are open to all.  They take place at 3pm every Wednesday in the Long Lounge, Devonshire House.  Please come along if you are interested.  Alternatively you can request to be added to the secret Facebook group by emailing gender-equality@hotmail.co.uk.