'Rape is the consequence of a culture where sexist behaviours are normalised'

30 March 2021, 15:52

By Sam Sholli

Rape is the consequence of a culture where behaviours that aren't normal are normalised, Everyone’s Invited founder Soma Sara has told LBC.

Ms Sara made the comment after more than 10,000 anonymous testimonies have been posted to the Everyone's Invited website, about experiences of misogyny, harassment, abuse and assault in education.

Ms Sara told LBC's Shelagh Fogarty: "Rape is the consequence of this culture. And when I'm talking about a culture, I'm talking about behaviours that are normalised that aren't normal.

"So [I'm referring to] things like sexual harassment, sexism, misogyny, these derogatory comments, these dehumanising behaviours.

"And when behaviours such as upskirting or the non-consensual sharing of intimate photos are normalised, this can act as a gateway to more extreme behaviours such as rape and sexual assault."

She added: "So as I say again it's not just about the extreme behaviours of rape and assault. It's about everything else.

"It's about that wider environment that stigmatises sexual violence and doesn't allow people to come forward and be open with their stories."

Writing to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, Labour MPs Kate Green and Jess Phillips said Everyone’s Invited has revealed the "scale of sexual harassment and abuse that is taking place around schools, colleges and universities across the country" and also called for a "national strategy" to tackle it.

“Swift and decisive action is needed to make sure that the education system is safe for every young person, and that sexist or misogynistic attitudes towards women and girls are stamped out early," the letter said.

Education`Secretary Gavin Williamson has tweeted: "No school - whether an independent school or state school - should ever be an environment where young people feel unsafe, let alone somewhere that sexual abuse can take place.

"The allegations that I have heard in recent days are shocking and abhorrent.

"Any victim of these sickening acts that we've seen reported should raise their concerns with someone they trust, whether that's a family member or friend, a teacher, social worker, or the police. We will take appropriate action."

If you have been affected by any of these issues, you can contact The Survivor's Trust Helpline on 08088 010818 or online at helpline@thesurvivorstrust.org