|On the 8th March, on International Women’s Day, 75 young women from across Sunderland attended a performance of Open Clasp’s BlueGiro at Ayton Youth Centre organised by The Box Youth Project. During the post show workshop, which looked at risk and responsibility, it was acknowledged that we women and young women are constantly told to how to behave in order to keep ourselves safe from sexual violence and rape. That, in line with current research by Opinion Matters, it is often believed that in some circumstances women and young women should accept responsibility. For example if they accept a drink from a lad, are alone with a lad, kiss a lad, dance in a sexy manner with a man/lad, dress provocatively, walk home alone or if a young woman is drunk and passes out, then it's her responsibility if she is raped.
The young women were asked what messages should be given to men and young men in order to keep women and young women safe. The following is the outcome.
Men should remember:
Get a YES before you UNDRESS!
Always make sure the girl says yes
Yes means yes and no means no, there is no grey area
If she’s drunk she’s not consenting - If a girl is legless don’t take the risk Silence doesn’t mean consent
If you threaten a woman it’s not consent
Sex without consent is rape
If in doubt keep it in your trousers
Don’t take advantage of women
Make sure the girl is not underage
Know that age difference matters - if you are over 16 it’s illegal for you to have sex with someone under 16
Women should be able to wear what they want
The way women dress/dance/act doesn’t mean you can take advantage
You have no right to take what you want
Women have the right to change their minds
If a girl is by herself it doesn’t mean she’s looking for a man or sex
Girls aren’t just there for sex
Have respect within marriage, women and girls aren’t your property
If a girl or woman is sexually active it doesn’t mean that she’s easy.
Use protection, but remember just cos a girl’s carrying condom’s doesn’t mean she’s up for it.
Don’t take girls home that you don’t know
Don’t be led astray
Don’t force anyone to do anything
Have zero tolerance of violence against women
Never meet a girl online
Don’t send pictures of women to others or share on the internet
Respect girls privacy
Get to know somebody
Your body is your temple
Ask yourself how would you feel if it happened to someone you know e.g. family member?
If a girl is flirting with you and dressed sexily it doesn’t mean you can have sex with her.
Make sure you’re on the same wavelength.
Never think women are there for the taking.
Don’t pressurise girls or supply them with too much alcohol and don’t spike drinks
Don’t touch inappropriately
Don’t use rude comments
Don’t put women under pressure
You have a choice