Hundreds of Norwich students join violence against women event

UEA students taking part in event to show solidarity for all women who have experienced violence.

UEA students taking part in event to show solidarity for all women who have experienced violence. - Credit: Roo Pitt

Hundreds of Norwich students have taken part in an event organised to show solidarity for women who have experienced violence.

About 600 people gathered for the ‘We’re in this together’ event advertised by the University of East Anglia's (UEA) Womanist Society as a response to recent attacks on women.

It was prompted by the response to the death of Sarah Everard and the story of Blessing Olusegun, a 21-year-old whose body was discovered on a beach in East Sussex last September.

Miss Everard's body was found in Kent after she disappeared while walking home in London. Met police officer Wayne Couzens has been charged with murder and kidnap in connection with her death.

About 600 students taking part in the socially distanced event at the UEA square on the Norwich campus.

About 600 students taking part in the socially distanced event at the UEA square on the Norwich campus. - Credit: Roo Pitt

The peaceful event on March 24 included speeches highlighting the importance of coming together to take a stand against violence.

Georgia Hubbard and Ava Johnston, both first years at UEA, who volunteered at the event, said: “We were so pleased with the turn out at last night's vigil, the support from all the students who came to share their experiences was incredible. 

Organiser Georgia Hubbard addressing students at UEA event

Organiser Georgia Hubbard addressing students at UEA event to show solidarity for all women who have experienced violence. Roo Pitt - Credit: Roo Pitt

“What began as a small idea shared by a few quickly transformed into a heartwarming display of individuals coming together in solidarity for women. An extraordinary evening.”

A two-minute silence was followed by volunteers handing out pieces of paper for woman to anonymously share their experiences of violence, sexual assault and harassment and offer messages of solidarity. 

A number of students took to the loudspeaker to highlight their experiences and express their support for women. Some spoke about their experiences of assault and harassment on campus.

Becca Morrison taking part in event to show solidarity for all women who have experienced violence.

Becca Morrison taking part in event to show solidarity for all women who have experienced violence. - Credit: Roo Pitt

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Becca Morrison, an international development student, said: “I think the event was needed to shed light on how many UEA students have suffered over the years at the hands of men and show our solidarity for each other. 

“It was a really emotional and empowering night for everyone. I think something that stood out was the sheer amount of men standing with us in support; one of the main issues at the moment is teaching men to hold each other accountable and teaching our kids from a young age in school. 

Organisers handed out pieces of paper for woman to anonymously share their experiences.

Organisers handed out pieces of paper for woman to anonymously share their experiences. - Credit: Roo Pitt

“Hopefully the event will cause UEA to think more carefully about how they protect their students and deal with situations in the future.”
 

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