‘OPEN YOUR EYES’: STUDENTS URGE UNIVERSITIES TO TACKLE RAPE CULTURE ON CAMPUS

By Kasper Hassett

CW: Discussions of sexual harassment and abuse

Conversations around sexual assault, particularly the danger to women, are often sparked too late. The horrifying, untimely deaths and treatment of Sarah Everard and Blessing Olusegun by police rightly attracted attention, but vigils in their names cannot undo the violence against them. They can instil solidarity between those mourning and sympathising, but often, once the tealights are extinguished, so are the conversations.

Students have good reason to protest, with rape culture prevalent in university settings. The meagre punishments for perpetrators of threats, predatory behaviour and racist comments in group chats at the universities of Warwick and Exeter indicate universities are failing to bring safety to the students sharing their campuses. Survivors of sexual harassment and assault are often made to feel that their reports are burdensome, with no ban of contact between themselves and the perpetrator enforced. Under the offices of university executives who ignore the issues and boast the institutions’ successes, students’ actions have moved towards preventative measures. Though the world may forget the names of victims and the crimes against them, survivors and future generations must be protected from further violations.

The UEA student body has responded variously. In March, the event ‘We’re In This Together’ united approximately 600 students in The Square, sharing and digesting experiences of sexual assault and harassment. Many of the placards are now on display in The Street against the glass wall of the bar, a harrowing reminder that, once the sky is dark and the conversations are over, survivors still carry their stories, and assailants still walk in spaces which should be safe.

The event was followed by the creation of the Open Your Eyes campaign against domestic abuse. Primarily active on Instagram, Open Your Eyes plans to execute both education and outreach. 

‘Open Your Eyes is devoted to tackling rape culture in educational institutions as well as advocating for university disciplinary procedure reform. I began this campaign after leaving an abusive relationship and reporting it to my university. I subsequently had many issues with the university’s disciplinary process and ended up wishing that I had gone to the police instead. We are currently collecting accounts from hundreds of students across the country that detail how they attempted to report [sexual assault or domestic abuse] to their university, but received minimal support, and in most cases were treated awfully. We have also researched the specific (and shocking) policies that play to the advantage of perpetrators, and are in discussions with several institutions and campaigns in an effort to reform these policies,’ says founder Lizzie Buckingham Jarvill, a current UEA student. At present, Open Your Eyes is collecting testimonies anonymously and plans to release them on their Instagram account @openyoureyesda. It will likely paint a disturbing picture of what happens behind closed doors across campuses nationally, but also help relieve the isolation of survivors whose experiences have not been told.

One compulsory assembly in school won’t achieve the shift in societal attitude towards rape culture that we need.

Lizzie Buckingham Jarvill

To eradicate rape culture, they are targeting communities and spaces where it is likely to breed. Buckingham Jarvill notes that ‘one compulsory assembly in school won’t achieve the shift in societal attitude towards rape culture that we need. Instead, we are currently focusing our attention on groups of young people who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of rape culture.’ This includes planned work with male-dominated spaces like sports clubs, to encourage men to hold each other accountable.

Open Your Eyes wishes to practice an intersectional approach, offering Instagram takeovers to a diverse range of people with different stories. ‘Making it into a space for regular takeovers is the long-term plan for our Instagram. We want to start shifting the online platform away from our own promotion and change it to become a space for other stories and different voices to be heard.’

Despite constant turnover in student bodies, movements from student communities are a powerful force to instigate change. The campaigns created by students to challenge rape culture, sexual assault and harassment, and domestic violence are carefully and passionately devised and will undoubtedly have an impact as personal stories reach peers and friends. But lasting change necessitates executive university staff listening to the voices of those who are affected. For this to happen there must be a shift in attitude – away from protecting pristine reputations and towards enabling safe student communities.

Featured image credit: Kasper Hassett


The Norwich Radical is non-profit and run by volunteers. All funds raised help cover the maintenance costs of our website, as well as contributing towards future projects and events. Please consider making a small contribution to fund a better media future.


THE BREAKUP MONOLOGUES BY ROSIE WILBY – REVIEW

By Carmina Masoliver

I mostly read The Breakup Monologues: The Unexpected Joy of Heartbreak over the course of one weekend, author and comedian Rosie Wilby’s conversational stage persona making it easily digestible and impossible to put down on a sunny weekend with few commitments. Mirroring the non-linear nature of breakups, the book flits back and forth in time, marked B.G. (Before Girlfriend) and A.G. (After Girlfriend). Using ever-changing vocabulary to describe a number of different ‘ghosting’ methods, the book delves into Wilby’s dating and breakup history, alongside incredulous anecdotes from others. The driving point of the book, inspired by the podcast of the same name, is that each breakup can teach us something. Despite this, the romantic in me can’t help but hope that Wilby, equipped with the knowledge and experience of past relationships, might find a happy ever after with Girlfriend. With this mixed sense of hope and impending doom, the book itself mirrors the structure of an uncertain relationship.

Continue Reading

NORWICH SHOWS SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINE

By Sean Meleady and Callum Luckett

CN: death, violence, antisemitism, Islamophobia, colonialism, racism, ethnic cleansing

Norwich, like many cities and towns across Britain, has seen a number of Palestinian solidarity protests in recent weeks. These protests came in the wake of the latest series of aerial bombardments between Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza, which resulted in the deaths of 256 Palestinians and 12 Israelis, according to UN figures. The spark for this recent escalation of violence occurred when an Israeli court greenlit eviction proceedings of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, and subsequent peaceful protests were brutally repressed, culminating in attacks by Israeli police on the holy site of Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, which elicited international condemnation.

Continue Reading

ADAT YESHUA: PREACHING LOVE IN THE FACE OF HATE

By Rabbi Binyamin Sheldrake, of the Adat Yeshua Messianic Synagogue, Norwich

CW: Antisemitism

In many ways we could be forgiven for feeling that the world is in a constant state of flux right now — not just with the pandemic and how that has deeply affected us all, but also in terms of our economy, politics and, in a lesser-known arena possibly, the religious world too. While Messianic Judaism is not a direct by-product of the recent turbulence in the world today, the interest shown in it most certainly is. During the lockdown, the huge numbers of texts, calls and emails we received bore testimony to the exponential growth in interest in this modern (and not so modern) form of Judaism. Some fourteen years ago now, Time Magazine ran an article about an emerging idea that they suggested would go on to fundamentally change the world: that Yeshua was a Jew and nothing else. 

Continue Reading

ITALY’S FAR-RIGHT ARE INDOCTRINATING SCHOOL CHILDREN

1

by Alessandra Arpaia

CW: violence

Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Italian party Fratelli d’Italia, has recently published a book about her life. One Italian journalist has described the book as the “biography of a leader who has been trying for some time to humanise her public image”. Another called it the “perfect influencer biography”, and a book filled with “pre-made sentences that would look great on Instagram”. Many others have criticised the book for its outright lies. Needless to say, it’s sparked widespread controversy. 

Continue Reading

WHY WE SHOULD BOYCOTT THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL

By Isaak Lewis-Smith

Tonight, at the Estadio do Dragao in Porto, Chelsea play Manchester City in what is set to be a mouthwatering finale to this year’s UEFA Champions League. The only sporting competition I know the theme tune for, I’ve hardly missed a final since that famous night in 2005 when Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool hauled themselves back against Carlo Ancelotti’s inimitable AC Milan. 

Continue Reading

SUPER LEAGUE: FOOTBALL CONFRONTS CAPITALISM

by Howard Green

From a certain perspective, mobilisation amongst football fans is something that is wasted in the route toward social progress. Frequently individuals sacrifice their money and a vast amount of their free time to follow their football club, or just to participate in the general activity of football. If this sort of frequency and mass of mobilisation were done in the name of protest and justice, we would probably see greater change in our society. But since the initial announcement of the breakaway European Super League, the views of the most loyal of football fans are not being taken into account. A powerful elite are changing their audience, and in many ways it is necessary that football fans must call out what this is: mere capitalism.

Continue Reading

“NEUTRALITY”: A TOOL OF SYSTEMATIC MURDER AND OPPRESSION

by Sarah Edgcumbe

TW: settler colonialism, violence, war

Media outlets are once again decrying the “conflict” between Israel and Palestine, framing Hamas actions as “terrorism”, whilst conversely describing Israel’s as “military action”. At the time of writing, Hamas rockets had killed eight in Israel, while Israeli aerial bombardment of Gaza had killed 122 Palestinians (including 31 children) and injured 830 others. The imbalance in power, resources and media discourse is beyond belief.

Continue Reading

FREEDOM FOR PALESTINE

1
by V Arun Kumar
Description: In foreground, an Israeli military bulldozer is broken in half due to impact of a map of Palestine. Pieces of the Israeli bulldozer lay scattered around. The Palestinian map is overlaid with Palestinian flag. The military bulldozer represents Israeli annexation of Palestinian land and the Palestinian map represents Palestinian resistance. In the background is the text: 'Resist Israel’s Annexation Plan' and 'Freedom For Palestine'.

Description:

In the foreground, an Israeli military bulldozer is broken in half due to impact of a map of Palestine. Pieces of the Israeli bulldozer lay scattered around. The Palestinian map is overlaid with Palestinian flag. The military bulldozer represents Israeli annexation of Palestinian land and the Palestinian map represents Palestinian resistance. In the background text reads: ‘Resist Israel’s Annexation Plan’ and ‘Freedom For Palestine’.


The Norwich Radical is non-profit and run by volunteers. All funds raised help cover the maintenance costs of our website, as well as contributing towards future projects and events. Please consider making a small contribution to fund a better media future.

SKATING ON THE EAST COAST

a black and white image of a person on a skateboard, superimposed on abstract imagery and shapes of various coolours, giving the illusion of skating on a path, or stream, or wave
by Ash

Olympics aside, it’s an interesting time for skateboarding, especially on the UK east coast. To shredder’s delight we’ve witnessed new parks crop up in Loddon and Cobholm to name a couple, and to our dismay old scene relics like the Trowse DIY spot have been levelled. New local projects such as Cigarette skateboards, Barely coping clothing, Girls sk8 east anglia, the shed and Doghead promo have been established to support the scene, whilst Norfolk’s beloved Drug store have had their iconic sign nicked shortly before closing doors and moving into a dreamy new venue.

Continue Reading