#MeToo

The #metoo movement is one of the most high-profile issues currently in the media, a hash tag campaign against sexual violence. According to the Guardian, twitter reported that the hash tag was shared nearly one million times in 48 hours and shared more than 12 million times on Facebook. A movement that has encouraged women to form a global community of female solidarity.

Allegations of sexual abuse came in thick and fast shaming many people from those in the public eye to the local pizza delivery man. The movement has highlighted a culture in which women are regularly verbally and physically sexualised.

Georgina Newton wrote in the Guardian ‘Sexual harassment percolates like a poison into my life and into the lives of all the women I know; it is an insidious encroachment into our existence. It is the white noise we cannot drown out. And it won’t stop until men pledge to change a global culture of sexual entitlement, alongside us.’

But what if the abuse is coming from someone you are supposed to trust? Perhaps your boss, your teacher, your doctor or even your Partner?

Thanks to the #MeToo movement the issue of ‘consent’ is now on the agenda. Not just between strangers, friends or brief encounters but between partners. It’s frightening for many to think that the Partners we love and trust may force us into something that we aren’t enjoying for their own sexual gratification, but this happens in many relationships. One in three women has experienced sexual violence within an intimate relationship.

We often equate romantic relationships with consent leading to the common misconception that sexual abuse and harassment cannot happen between individuals in dating relationships and marriages.

Hera Hussain for the Independent states ‘Consent can’t begin and end with dates. Consent can’t be the absence of No. It can’t be an extra. It can’t be a one off check. Consent has to be affirmative and enthusiastic every single time, from the first time to the last time.’

Sexual violence is a crime, no matter who commits it or where it happens. Don’t be afraid to get help.

If you or anyone you know is being or has been subjected to coercive control or any other form of domestic violence and abuse, or the perpetrator has made an application in the family courts and you have to attend, don’t delay, contact the Domestic Violence and Abuse Department (DVAD) at Emery Johnson Astills, either by phoning 0116 255 4855, or by emailing DVAD@johnsonastills.com.

A specially trained member of staff in the DVAD of Emery Johnson Astills will be able to provide advice as to what steps you can take to protect yourself and also whether you may be eligible for Legal Aid.