The University of Bath’s Feminism and Gender Equality society hold a ‘97%’ protest

On Sunday the 18th of April, the Feminism and Gender Equality society held a silent protest in light of the murder of Sarah Everard and a recent Guardian article that revealed that 97% of young women aged 18-24 in the UK have experienced sexual harassment. The protest lasted from 11-4 and took place next to Bath Abbey during the first weekend since non-essential shops and cafes have reopened.

This protest was well-timed; as the general public are now allowed out of the house to socialise and shop, it stood as a stark reminder that we should all be respectful of one another and refuse to be passive when we see someone being sexually harassed. Secondly, given that Sarah Everard’s disappearance took place during a lockdown when the public were unable to show their support, this protest kept the memory of Sarah alive while also showing the commitment of students at the University of Bath to ensuring that people feel safe on campus and within the city.

In order to raise awareness, the Feminism and Gender Equality society held up signs displaying quotes like ‘I am part of the 97%’. The society also provided a mannequin that people could come and write their name and age on if they had experienced sexual harassment.

Given the pandemic, the society was extremely cautious about adhering to Coronavirus rules. Therefore, all those who participated in the protest wore masks, the pens that were provided to sign the mannequin were regularly sanitised and social distancing was encouraged.

Public responses were overwhelmingly positive; the protesters witnessed mothers telling their young children that it was a ‘’great cause’’, while people of all ages came and signed their names on the mannequin, thanking the protestors for their support. Of course there were those who remarked to their friends or partners as they walked by that the statistic seemed ‘’too high’’, but nonetheless, the protest ensured that anyone walking through Bath on Sunday stopped to think about Sarah Everard and what they can do to ensure that there is zero tolerance for sexual harassment.

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