It’s been a busy week for us here at Safe Space. We’ve been really overwhelmed with all the support for what we are trying to achieve. There’s been a lot of debate about this too. Emma and I have spent a good chunk of time clarifying our aims – for us, it’s quite simple.
We exist to support women who need it.
When something happens to you online, something that scares you or makes you question everything, it can be so hard to tell anyone about it. Will I be believed? Will people think I’m soft for having an emotional response to it? Will people think I’m silly and should just laugh it off? These are all entirely rational thoughts that women have in this situation. But the point is, they shouldn’t be. That’s what we are trying to change – we are a support network for women where they will always be believed, never criticised and never, ever, blamed.
If you’ve ever had the misfortune to be in this position, as Emma and I both have, it can be really difficult to know what to do. Can I report it? Who to? How do I do it? This is a crucial part of the support we want to offer women. We aren’t going to tell you what to do, but what we can do is talk through a range of options, whether that be reporting an incident to a LADO or the police, or simply choosing to do nothing. That choice belongs to women – we want women to feel empowered to make their choice. And we’ll always support that.
There has been a lot of discussion about naming men who act in this way. There are a whole host of pros and cons for this – there’s no easy answer either way. But we aren’t here to be a little black book of who’s dirty and who isn’t. We aren’t interested in the name game. We aren’t focussed on the men in this – we are focussed on the women. Our efforts will go into supporting them, not getting tied up in a malicious rumour mill. That’s not what we are about.
To summarise, our aims are as follows:
1) To empower and support women who have been affected by this
2) To signpost support and options that women have
3) To stand by women and hold their hand in whatever their choices are
4) To remain entirely confidential in all that we do
And perhaps, most importantly, to not police the issue.