Feeling unsettled after this weekend's events?
It’s been a tough week for many.
Sarah Everard’s death, coupled with the developing tension at how police handled protestors at the London vigil on Saturday, has been deeply unsettling for many.
If you’re feeling a little down or helpless, do know that many women across the UK are also feeling this way. Here at Marie Claire, we’ve covered the #NotAllMen hashtag, chatted to the women who were at the vigil, and spoken to four harassment survivors about their experiences in the hope that talking will help to bring about change.
Next up, we wanted to bring you the simplest ways you can protect yourself when out and about. Think emergency numbers, helplines, and how to make an SOS call from your phone, even when the home screen is locked. Knowing how to activate the setting on your phone where you can subtly call for help in vulnerable and dangerous situations is important.
These precautions shouldn’t be necessary, but sadly, they are.
Sexual harassment, abuse and helpline numbers
Make an emergency call
Pressing the on and volume buttons on either side of the phone will bring up an ‘Emergency SOS’ slider appears. All you have to do is slide your finger across the screen and the emergency services will be called.
If you’re a Siri user, you can say the number 14 into your phone and Siri will ask if you want to make an emergency call.
Make an emergency call from a locked screen
Did you know? On most smartphones, including iPhones, you can make an emergency call without actually unlocking your device.
As above, if you hold down the on and volume buttons simultaneously and choose not drag your finger across the screen, an alert will start sounding from your iPhone. If the buttons remain held down, the emergency services will be called automatically.
You can also list your emergency contacts in the iPhone health app. Doing this is fairly important, as when you make an emergency call, these contacts will receive an alert saying so.
Don’t have an iPhone? Google’s features are very similar. On a Samsung Galaxy smartphone once the SOS feature is activated, you can raise an alert by clicking your lock button three times. This will automatically send an SOS message and a Google map link of your location to your designated contacts. The feature also shares pictures from both the front and rear cameras of your smartphone, as well as a five-second audio recording. Visit the Samsung website for more on how to activate SOS messages on your Samsung Devices.
Share your live location
You’ll all likely have done this before, but remembering to share your live location on WhatsApp can be a really useful way to make sure your friends or family know your exact whereabouts.
If you don’t have WhatsApp, there are a whole host of specific location tracking apps available to download.
WhatsApp’s feature is good because it enables you to share your live location as and when you choose, rather than all the time. You can choose between 15 minutes and 8 hours.
On Android devices, if you head to settings and click on the location tab, you can choose a setting called the ’emergency location service’. Your phone will then share your location with emergency services if you do have to call them.
iPhones, on the other hand, do this automatically, although you can change this by selecting the ‘Stop Sharing Emergency Location’ option in your Settings.
Reach out to a helpline for support
There are a whole load of helplines you can call if you’ve been harassed, abused, or need emotional support.
For reporting a crime
If you think you’ve witnessed abuse or sexual harassment, or want to report your experience anonymously, Crimestoppers is an independent UK charity which enables you to speak about crime anonymously. They can also offer pretty comprehensive personal safety advice – simply call 0800 555111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.
For stalking and harassment
Try Victim Support, who offer a free and confidential service for if you’ve experienced stalking or harassment. No police report is needed, and they’re open 24/7. Simply call 0808 168 9111 or visit victimsupport.org.uk.
Give Us A Shout offer anonymous text support. Feel like you’re struggling to cope? Again, they’re open 24/7 and are there to listen. Simply text 85285 or visit giveusashout.org.
You can also call the Equality and Advisory support service for free via equalityadvisoryservice.com or on 0808 800 0082 – they advise and assist on any issues related to human rights.
Or, reach out to The Suzy Lamplugh Trust’s National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or at suzylamplugh.org. They offer advice for victims and campaign to ensure ‘better protection and safety for victims of stalking and lone workers’, and have a handy service which provides all the information and help you could need if you fear you are being stalked.
For sexual harassment at work
Feel like you’re experiencing sexual harassment at work? That’s against your legal right. For support specifically on work-related abuse, reach out to the Citizen’s Advice helpline on 0800 144 8838 or via citizensadvice.org.uk. They have a chat feature online, if you don’t want to talk on the phone.
For support after rape
The NHS direct helpline is 111, and they can offer guidance on what, medically, to do immediately after rape or sexual abuse. If you’re not sure whether to call, their website has some pointers. Remember this is an incredibly personal experience for ever survivor, but they are there to help, should you feel you need it.
National organisation Rape Crisis also has a live chat helpline to support anyone affected by sexual abuse or rape. Get in touch on 0808 802 9999 or at rapecrisis.org.uk.
We hope this was helpful. Do remember – you are not alone.