Cardiff Vigils: What can be done next to stop such incidents?

After Sarah Everard’s death has been making headlines, here’s what female students had to say about what the next steps can be.

Hundreds of people gathered for a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard in Bute park, to pay their respects and raise awareness about the recent incidents of violence against women in the UK.

Sarah Everard’s murder has sparked an outcry from thousands of people in the UK over violence against women. Everard was a 33-year-old woman, who went missing on 3 March walking home from her friend’s house in South London. Her death ignited a widespread debate about the safety of women.

Here’s what female students at Cardiff had to say about what the further measures can be to put a full stop on such incidents.

Lois Barber, pharmacology student at Cardiff University

“Men should look out their friends is really important. There are loads of social media posts in the last couple of weeks such as things men can do (to avoid such horrendous incidents). I think it should be aware that even if they know that they are never going to be a threat to girls, it’s important to spread the word of awareness to their friends and support. If they see something that doesn’t look quite right, actually doing something instead of just thinking “oh, it will never be me, so it’s ok”. I think that is the only way you can actually tackle it really because, at the end of the day, men are the only people who can stop the other men from being violent towards women.”

Maisie Shiers, a Sociology student at Cardiff University

“To be honest, I think the most important thing is to educate people and make them aware, it is not educating women but educating men from primary school. I think school can do more as I said, we can tackle the problem early on. It’s better to tackle the problem with men instead of telling women how to protect themselves.”

Vanshika Anand, the organizer of the silent vigil for Sarah at Bute Park

“It’s not just about Sarah in terms of what happened, it’s about everyone. Personally, it happens to me as well. When I’m just walking home people catcall and follow. Especially at night, men throw themselves on women. Even if you say a no, apparently it does not work until you slap them on their face. Every woman experiences this. I just thought if no one does anything for what has been happening, then I will do something by myself. By organizing a silent vigil.”

Lucy Daniel, Cardiff University

“The curfew on men post 6 PM that Mark Drakeford recently spoke about is just a statement because most of the women feel like they can’t go out of their doors after it gets dark. It just tells how unsafe woman feels.”

Jessica Wray, Cardiff University and speaker at the vigil

“One can’t just pin down on women. It needs to be fixed on the ground up. Young children need to be taught about more such issues. They have just been fed information based on how the society is. If you want to change, we need to make them realize that as well. I think tougher sentencing and an easier way to report cases are needed. I know in our university alone, many female students would have experienced such things from other students and there is no place for them to go. The unit doesn’t support them. The government, society, and institutions need to do more.”

Nivi Packiahrajah, Cardiff University

“It makes me a little hesitant to approach police officers but the thing is just about one of them. There must be other cases which we don’t know about. This one is just the one that came to light. We cannot generalize it, but it is of course the police officers that need to raise awareness about what can be done further on.“

Hannah, Sociology student

“One way that would I think would make a girl feel safe is, if you are walking behind a girl, keep a distance of 2 meters away and walk loud by stomping. Basically, make girls aware that there is someone behind them instead of approaching them silently.”