By Strong Survivors Talk

It's almost been a year since headlines all over the country were filled with Sarah Everard’s murder and were suddenly talking about violence against women…or as I prefer to call it: male violence. It felt like it was everywhere you looked; was it because it was an issue that deserved awareness or because it was simply news agencies jumping on the bandwagon? Maybe I'm a cynic, but it felt like the latter. Since then, what has the media done to highlight the importance of women’s safety? More importantly, where was the media’s (and the country’s) attention before a white middle-class woman was murdered?

I found this period to be quite reflective but traumatising at the same time; a million memories resurfaced, and I was overwhelmed. Many of my friends felt similarly and were particularly concerned about their safety as students, yet there was no safe space or support for us to turn to. With a heart-breaking increase in femicide, 2,600 spiked university students, and 1 in 9 male university students admitting to rape, something needed to change…and so I founded Strong Survivors Talk (SST). A community that would raise awareness, advocate for anti-sexual harassment education and provide a safe space for student survivors of all various backgrounds. Maybe, with the goal of one day even becoming a charity and developing an app or two...

As the founder of SST and a University of Birmingham student, I’m working with the Guild of Students to implement consent education within the institution.

Having a supportive community is a gamechanger; especially for students living alone for the first time. As the founder of SST and a University of Birmingham student, I’m working with the Guild of Students to implement consent education within the institution. It’s incredibly rewarding to get to be part of this move forward. Though don’t you also think consent education should already be mandatory anyway?

Strong Survivors Talk also has its own Facebook support group. It’s safe, supportive, and empowering and is open to all student survivors. The group is a great place to share your experiences (even anonymously), get tips on coping mechanisms, and simply know you’re not alone. Picking the right coping mechanism can be difficult though - we’ve all been there. Healing after sexual violence was actually the topic of SST’s last Instagram Live, where we talked with Kerry Duffy - Human Givens therapist - about dealing with trauma, coping mechanisms, and picking the right one for you. So make sure to check it out and maybe in the near future you’ll even see the Muslim Women’s Network on there!

Note from MWN Hub: We appreciate Strong Survivors Talk sharing their support group on our platform and commend their efforts to raise awareness about this topic. We understand that Muslim women may struggle to open up about the subject matter discussed in this blog as it can be overlooked or ignored in Muslim communities due to stigma and to uphold honour within families, thus we encourage Muslim survivors to seek out groups such as Strong Survivors Talk if you’d like to open up about your experience in a safe space. You can also contact Muslim Women’s Network UK’s Helpline.

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