Empowering Safety Workshop for Girls
By Ella Tait
The Yes: Young Empowered & Strong Workshop was held on Wednesday 14 April.
It was organised by New Vision 4 Women who have previously worked exclusively with adult women.
After putting out details of the event on social media nine London-based schoolgirls attended.
The attendees were encouraged to be mindful of their surroundings, and were given hypothetical scenarios where their safety was threatened.
They were also encouraged to discuss how best to handle the different situations, which included being grabbed in the street, and a stranger offering them a lift.
Isabelle (12) was brave enough to tell the other attendees about her own experience.
She was walking to school when she noticed an older unidentified man following close behind her.
Isabelle said she didn’t tell anyone about the incident until she returned home hours later.
“I ran away as quickly as possible,” she said.
“I was so scared.”
Isabelle also said her father now walks her to school as they both fear she might find herself in a similar situation again.
The attendees responded by discussing how best to handle dangerous situations in the future.
Suggestions put forth included talking to an adult such as a teacher or parent, and/or finding a safe space where there are other adults present such as a corner shop.
One attendee even encouraged her fellow sisters to kick their attackers “where the sun don’t shine!”
Nighat Khan, founder of New Vision 4 Women, said the move to working with young girls aged 12 to 17 comes in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder.
“Instead of speaking to women, we thought we should speak to girls,” she said.
“We want our girls to be safe.”
Roz Thornton also attended the workshop, encouraging the girls to talk about empowerment, self-care and wellbeing.
“Knowing who you are will help with your self-confidence,” Roz Thornton said.
“You are much more than your name.”
She also emphasised the importance of managing stress and mental health.
Thornton finished the workshop with an empowering message, encouraging the attendees to join in the chant;
“I’m young! I’m empowered! I’m strong!”
The experience was well received by the attendees, who described the workshop as unifying.
As well as the useful tips and advice on staying safe, the workshop empowered the girls and gave them the confidence to be themselves and boost their self-esteem.
It provided a safe space where they could express their opinions and discuss their experiences with their fellow sisters.
Khan hopes the session will be the first of many, and is aiming to have the workshop eventually rolled out in schools.