By Darcy Servais | Head of Advice
Disclaimer: This article covers subjects that some people may find distressing.
Street harassment has been prevalent, particularly amongst women, for years. However, there has been a recent spike in the number of reports regarding street harassment and feeling unsafe when walking the streets. It has been reported that worldwide, 80% of women endure frequent street harassment, with 45% feeling like they cannot go somewhere alone.
Street harassment ranges from a wide variety of forms, such as car beeping, whistling and inappropriate comments. Sadly, being harassed in public has become a somewhat ‘normal’ occurrence for girls and women and is something that we have been taught to endure and deal with from a young age.
Unfortunately, there has been an increasing amount of reports of street harassment around Cathays, which is widely known as the student hub of Cardiff. Students and residences around Cathays have often seen posts on social media regarding the extensive harassment that women endure in and around Cardiff, which seems to have gotten worse over time. Although this should not be happening at all, it is an issue which is and will continue to be prevalent for the foreseeable future. It is important for this issue to be raised and spoken about in order to both raise awareness amongst students, but also provide advice and support when needed.
There are often reports of males following women home at night and using explicit language loud enough for them to hear, as well as reports of doors being aggressively knocked on. I used to work at a nightclub in town and was followed home after my shift in the early hours of the morning. A man followed me up the street that I lived at the time and grabbed me; luckily, I screamed loud enough to spook him and he ran off. That experience alone was enough to shake me up completely, and so I decided to do some research into how to keep yourself safe when in Cardiff.
Avoid walking alone.
Try your best to avoid walking anywhere alone, especially at night. Don’t ever leave a nightclub alone. Find alternatives such as taxis or walk home with friends or colleagues.
Always let someone know where you are.
It is very important to let someone know where you are or where you are heading, even if it’s just to the Tesco’s around the corner.
Keep your phone on you at all times.
Always have your phone on you in case of any emergency. It is also a good idea to have your location shared with your flatmates or friends for peace of mind.
Download the SafeGuard app.
This is one of the best apps for students. Downloading the app allows your location to be tracked. It also includes a first aid button and an emergency button which allows the SU security or the Police to be notified without speaking on the phone.
Head to the SU Security.
Cardiff Students Union does its best to keep students safe, and the security also provides Personal Attack Alarms for anyone that may need one. Head over to the security for any queries and they will do their best to help.
Stay alert and stay safe.
When walking, make sure you stay alert and take in your surroundings. Be sensible and stay vigilant. Support each other and keep yourselves and others safe.