A statement from the women leaders of the Students’ Union

TRIGGER WARNING: Sexual harassment and violence

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She was just walking home.

As women who lead the Students’ Union, we stand in solidarity with women all over the world who have been at the hands of senseless violence and harassment.

The horrific murder of Sarah Everard has shaken many women to the core over the past week, and the abysmal behaviour by the Met Police at the respectful vigil in her honour was nothing short of a complete failure to women’s safety. Young women are constantly having to modify their behaviour to decrease the likelihood of violence or harassment.

Whilst this outrage has originated this past week in the UK, it is imperative that we remember this is not a solely an issue affecting UK white women – where BIack women, Asian women, women of colour, women from low income backgrounds, LGBTQ+ women, and women with disabilities are disproportionately affected by female oppression.

Men: we demand you listen to this message. We need you to stand with all women and stop being silent on the issue. We need you to educate yourselves, your friends and family members in order to break down systemic misogyny.

It’s not all men: but it’s all women.

The lived experience of women at the University of Essex is no exception. Past officers, such as Ana (VP Welfare 19/20) have done some great work championing women’s safety and liberation, including the revisions of the Student Code of Conduct, and the sabbatical officer teams since 2018 have been asking the University to review the lived experiences of women. Yet, we know this work has not gone far enough, from these lived experiences and student feedback. Why do we have to keep waiting for an outcry for things to be changed?

We will be demanding action from the University: to review these lived experiences and current processes in more depth, as well as SU practises, so real action and systematic change can happen.

If you would like to share any experiences with us, please email For further direct support, please contact SU Advice at To report an incident, Report and Support is accessible at

If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed here, please view the list below for women’s charities who can help.

With love and solidarity,

Molly Purcell, SU President

Liv Matthews, VP Student Experience

Ria Buachie, VP Southend

Dolly Okeowo, Colchester Women’s Officer

Isobel Jacob, Loughton Women’s Officer

Hannah Akhalu, Southend Black Officer

Andrea Curtis, Colchester Black Officer

Feyi Wey, Loughton Black Officer

Charlie Cooke, Colchester Students with Disabilities Officer

List of women’s charities