Editorial

Women are talking about safety – we must listen

women's safety
The safety of women: following last week we must listen. Source: UN Women Asia and the Pacific (via Flickr)
Following the events of last week, a global discourse has begun around women's safety, and women are sharing their experiences. We must all listen and learn.

By Tirion Davies | Editor-in-Chief

Disclaimer: This article discusses topics that may be distressing for some readers, including sexual assault and sexual harassment. 

Last week, the UK was rocked when it was announced that the remains of Sarah Everard, who initially went missing on March 3, were found in Ashford, Kent. The 33-year-old marketing executive had been walking from a friend’s home in Clapham to her own home in Brixton in South London when she was abducted.

Sarah Everard’s story started a nationwide, and now global, discourse regarding the safety of women. Beginning on Twitter in the UK, millions of women shared their experiences of worrying about their safety while walking home, encouraging a global discussion about the experiences almost every woman has had. 

In an article published by The Guardian in the same week, it was found that 97% of young women aged 18-24 have experienced sexual harassment, with 80% of women of all ages noting they had been sexually harassed in a public space. 

The YouGov survey by UN Women of more than 1,000 women, indicated a general lack of faith had by women in the UK authorities’ ability to deal with sexual harassment incidents. 96% of respondents on the survey noted they had not reported the incidents, with 45% of those claiming they would not change this decision.

A poll by The Tab, which asked 14,000 students in Britain whether or not they had been groped in clubs, shows that 91% of women who answered said they had experienced sexual harassment and assault. 

The issue wasn’t exclusive to women, however. Overall, 82% of uni scholars, both male, and female, told the consent and sexual assault survey that they had experienced groping, with 61% of men noting they had experienced groping. 

In the study, Cardiff University was found to be the second-worst university in the UK for experiencing groping on a night out, with 95% of students saying they had experienced some form of sexual harassment.

Discussions around sexual harassment and sexual assault have been circulating for years, but following the case of Sarah Everard, it feels as though there has been a global resignation that it is an issue that can no longer be swept under the carpet.

Baroness Jenny Jones argued in the House of Lords last week that perhaps there should be a 6 pm curfew for men. This comment has been heavily debated online, with many noting it would be unfair to stop men from leaving their homes at night. Many women have argued, however, that despite there not being a physical curfew in place for women, women have always been encouraged to stay indoors after dark, so as to not be in any danger.

Baroness Jenny Jones later clarified her comments were not asking for a serious policy proposal, but rather pointing out that London police had advised that following the case of Sarah Everard women “not go out alone”. She told LBC that it was a concern to her as it appeared that no one seemed to “bat an eyelid” at the assumption that women ought to change their actions in order to stay safe.

We need to have a serious discussion of the experiences women face so that there is an understanding from each side of the dangers people experience. Of course, walking alone is dangerous for everyone regardless of their gender, however, as we’ve seen from various surveys, women feel they are in significantly more danger when walking home alone than men.   

According to data from UN Women’s Sexual Harassment Report 2021, 71% of women of all ages in the UK have experienced some form of sexual harassment in a public space, with this number rising to 86% among 18-24-year-olds. The MP Jess Phillips last week read the names of the women killed by men in the UK over the past 12 months, compiled by the Femicide Census; the speech lasted six minutes and showed that, in 2020 and 2021, the list amounted to one woman every three days.

The discussion surrounding safety is one everyone should have, regardless of gender. But it’s important that we listen to the women who are expressing their concern, and we begin to change the way we address the safety of women. Men’s stories deserve a platform – but should not be used in order to diminish the stories of women; each story is valid, and we need to have a serious discussion about sexual harassment of all genders, without diminishing their importance.

Unfortunately, we all, as women, have a story of sexual harassment or assault or know someone who has. 

After the events of this week, the discourse surrounding the safety of women is underway, and it’s important we all listen.


Yr wythnos diwethaf, yr oedd y Deyrnas Unedig wedi’i phoeni pan ddaeth y cyhoeddiad bod corff Sarah Everard, aeth ar goll ar Fawrth 3, wedi’i ddarganfod yn Kent. Yr oedd y fenyw 33-oed wedi’i bod yn cerdded o dy ei ffrind yn Brixton i’w chartref yn Clapham yn ne Llundain pan oedd hi wedi’i chipio.

Dechreuodd stori Sarah trafodaeth genedlaethol, a nawr byd-eang am ddiogelwch menywod. Dechreuodd y drafodaeth ar Drydar yn y DU, erbyn hyn mae miliynau o fenywod wedi rhannu profiadau o boeni am eu diogelwch wrth gerdded adref, yn ddechrau trafodaeth ryngwladol am y profiadau sydd gan bron pob menyw.

Yn erthygl gan The Guardian yr wythnos diwethaf, cyhoeddwyd bod 97% o fenywod rhwng oedrannau 18 a 24 wedi cael profiad o aflonyddwch rhywiol, gyda 80% o fenywod o bob oedran yn nodi eu bod wedi profi aflonyddwch rhywiol yn fan cyhoeddus.

Darganfuwyd y poll YouGov o dros 1,000 o fenywod bod llai o obaith gan fenywod yn y system heddlu i ddelio gyda’r achosion o aflonyddwch rhywiol. Nododd 96% o’r menywod nad oeddynt wedi cofnodi’r achosion, gyda 45% o’r menywod hynny’n sôn na fydden nhw’n newid y penderfyniad yma yn y dyfodol.

Nodwyd poll gan The Tab, a ofnwyd i 14,000 myfyriwr ym Mhrydain os oeddynt wedi profi ymbalfalu yng nghlwb, gyda’r canlyniadau yn nodi bod 91% o fenywod ag atebwyd wedi profi aflonyddwch rhywiol.

Nid yw’r broblem ond yn berthnasol i fenywod, er hyn. Dangosodd y poll bod 82% o bawb yn y brifysgol, gan gynnwys menywod a dynion, wedi sôn wrth y consent and sexual assault survey eu bod wedi delio gydag aflonyddwch rhywiol ac ymbalfalu, gan gynnwys 61% o ddynion.

Yn yr astudiaeth, dangosodd mai Prifysgol Caerdydd oedd yr ail waethaf o brifysgolion Prydain am aflonyddwch rhywiol, gyda 95% o fyfyrwyr yn nodi eu bod wedi profi aflonyddwch rhywiol ar noson mas.

Mae trafodaeth am aflonyddwch rhywiol a diogelwch menywod wedi bod o gwmpas am flynyddoedd, ond yn dilyn achos Sarah Everard, mae’n teimlo fel petai fod y byd wedi penderfynu mai dyma’r cyfnod i ddechrau trafodaeth fwy eang.

Gwnaeth Baroness Jenny Jones sôn yr wythnos diwethaf efallai dylai bod dynion yn cael eu cadw tu mewn ar ôl 6 o’r gloch y nos. I nifer ar lein, yr oedd hwn yn syniad erchyll, yn nodi ni ddylai bod dynion yn cael ei wrthod rhag gadael eu tai ar ôl amser y nos, ond i nifer o fenywod, dyma oedd y cyfle i godi’r ffaith bod gan fenywod ‘curfew’, hyd yn oed os nad yw’n un swyddogol. Nid yw nifer o fenywod yn gadael eu tai ar ben ei hunain ar ôl iddi dywyllu.

Yn fuan wedyn, wnaeth y Baroness sôn nad oedd hi’n ofyn am newid polisi penodol, ond yn hytrach yn nodi bod nifer yn gweld y ‘curfew’ fel rhywbeth erchyll, er oedd yr heddlu wedi gofyn i fenywod i newid eu hymddygiad wedi achos Sarah Everard, yn hytrach na’i ddiogelu.

Mae’n rhaid ein bod ni’n cael trafodaeth am y profiadau mae menywod yn wynebu’n ddiwrnodol, fel bod dealltwriaeth o’r ddwy ochr am y peryglon mae menywod yn ei wynebu. Wrth gwrs, mae cerdded ar ben eich hun yn beryglus i bawb, ond o’r hyn yr ydym wedi gweld o nifer o astudiaethau, mae’n gallu fod yn fwy peryglus i fenywod, ac mae menywod mwy tebygol o boeni.

Yn ôl data gan UN Women, mae 71% o fenywod bob oed yn y Deyrnas Unedig wedi profi rhyw fath o aflonyddwch rhywiol ym man cyhoeddus, gyda’r nifer yma’n codi i 86% o fenywod rhwng 18 a 24 oed. Darllenodd y MP Jess Phillips enwau’r menywod oedd wedi’i lladd dros y cyfnod 2020-21, oedd wedi’i ddangos gan Femicide Census; yr oedd yr enwau wedi cymryd chwe munud i’w enwi, ac oedd yr enwau’n dangos bod un fenyw pob tri diwrnod wedi marw yn y cyfnod 2020-21 yn y DU.

Dylai bod y drafodaeth am ddiogelwch yn un bod pawb yn cael, heb sôn am ryw. Ond, mae’n bwysig ein bod ni’n gwrando ar y menywod sy’n trafod eu poenau, ac yn dechrau newid y ffordd ein bod ni’n trafod diogelwch menywod. Mae straeon gan ddynion yn wir bwysig – ond ni ddylai bod y straeon yma’n cael ei ddefnyddio i brinhau straeon gan fenywod; mae pob stori’n bwysig, ac mae’n rhaid cael y drafodaeth am ddiogelwch pob rhyw heb brinhau eu pwysigrwydd.

Mae gan bob menyw stori am aflonyddwch rhywiol, neu’n adnabod rhywun sydd gyda stori.

Ar ôl yr achosion yr wythnos diwethaf, mae’r drafodaeth am ddiogelwch menywod ar waith, ac mae’n rhaid gwneud yn siŵr ein bod yn gwrando.

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