City Girl

Words by Pippa Moyle

www.citygirlnetwork.com

 

Get Home Safe Should Be A Priority, Not An Election Goal

“Get home safe.” A simple farewell phrase, holding a heavy reality. It’s a command to keep your guard up, hold your keys close, have your phone charged, avoid quiet streets and not draw attention to yourself. It’s a reminder that no matter how prepared you are, you might not get home safe at all. 

Our Facebook Group, Instagram DMs and inbox holds countless stories of Brighton Girls not getting home safely, and facing danger within their own homes. “Get home safe” can also mean “get your home safe”. 

If we apply the statistic of 1 in 4 women experiencing domestic violence to our membership, 8,250 Brighton Girls could be facing this reality. That fills the Brighton Centre two times over.

UN Women found that 71% of women had experienced sexual harassment in a public space – that’s 23,430 Brighton Girls. One of them is me. 

Over the 8 years, I’ve been dragged through a bush in a sexually motivated attack, had an attempted mugging in the middle of a busy crowd watching the Pride Parade, and have had my bum grabbed in bars.

According to official crime statistics, there were 10,548 recorded victims of violence and sexual offences in Brighton last year. We all know that the real figure is much higher. We know which streets to avoid. We also know it’s not just a “women’s issue” – a point I’ll expand on next time.

It’s very likely that by the time you read this, we’ll know the election results. Combatting violence against women and girls had some acknowledgement in manifestos.

The Conversative and Unionist Party Manifesto, have proposed to make crimes that involve violence against women and girls as significant as terrorism, serious and organised crime and child sexual abuse. Labour has proposed a specialist rape and sexual offences team in every police force, have domestic abuse specialists in all 999 control centres, and fast track rape convictions. 

The Lib Dems want to focus on building community-based and specialist ‘by and for’ services to support survivors of domestic abuse. The Green Party wants to inject £2.5bn into the court system, with one of its focuses being to end violence against women and girls.

Whoever takes the reins after the 4th July – whether you wanted them in or not – needs to be held to account. Getting home safe should be a priority, not just for an election goal.

Steven Graham
Author: Steven Graham

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