A hard-hitting film highlighting the importance of stepping in and challenging harassment and violence against women has been released as part of a city-wide awareness campaign.
The ‘Safe Derby’ campaign, backed by Home Office funding, was launched recently to rally communities across the city to tackle, challenge and prevent violence against women and girls in public places.
As well as a series of workshops, training, initiatives and a capital programme to upgrade CCTV and lighting, a film has been produced highlighting the reality of harassment and violence facing many women who simply want to enjoy an evening out and how timely intervention can help prevent gender-based crime.
The film has been produced by the key partners involved in Safe Derby – Derby City Council, specialist child exploitation charity Safe and Sound and Derby Community Action – working with Derby agency, Future Proof Films, Nadia Jane Performing Arts in Green Lane and Sporting Communities.
It shows a young woman heading out to meet a friend one evening. At first, she becomes nervous when she thinks she is being followed and is relieved when he realises how uncomfortable she is and crosses the road.
The two friends are then harassed firstly by a man in town whose friend challenges his behaviour and pulls him away and then by another man in a bar but, again, the bartender steps in.
There are then two scenarios: the first is when the woman is separated from her friend and heads home alone. She is followed and assaulted but is reluctant to contact the police.
The second scenario is that a bystander outside the bar suspects the attacker’s motives for following the woman and calls her back – checking she is alright and offering to call her a taxi.
Derby City Council Young Person’s Engagement Officer Stevie Wild, who co-produced the film, explained: “Everyone has the right to enjoy a sociable evening out with friends without fear of harassment, inappropriate behaviour and assault.
“The overriding message in this film is that we can all play an important role as an active bystander – recognising that something is not right, stepping in to help and challenging aggressive behaviour whether from a friend or a stranger.
“We also wanted to highlight the importance of reporting such crimes to the police which we know many women and girls are reluctant to do – perhaps thinking that they will not be believed or will, in some way, be judged.”
Councillor Matthew Eyre, Cabinet Member for Place and Community Development, added: “The release of the film is a powerful culmination of the Safe Derby campaign which has included many different elements to raise awareness of this important issue.
“The overarching objective of the campaign has been to signal Derby’s zero tolerance towards, and promotion of a city free from, gender-based violence, abuse, harassment and exploitation.
“Our goal has been to make Safe Derby an important starting point to raising wider awareness of the issue and to empower everyone in our local communities to play their part in tackling gender-based violence.”