End public sexual harassment - call from community choir

Suffolk Soul Singers are based in Ipswich

Suffolk Soul Singers performing at Bury St Edmunds Cathedral prior to the Covid pandemic - Credit: Suffolk Soul Singers

An Ipswich-based community choir has pledged its support to a national campaign fighting to end sexual harassment in public. 

Suffolk Soul Singers is backing the 'Our Streets Now' movement which is pushing for legislative change to tackle street harassment in the UK. 

A petition to make public sexual harassment a criminal offence has already reached more than 442,000 signatures since the campaign began. 

Viv Rolph, secretary of Suffolk Soul Singers, which is a registered charity, said members felt they wanted to do something in light of recent events around women's safety

The group has been unable to perform live since the coronavirus pandemic began, so members decided to create a video of new songs and link its launch to a fundraising campaign. 

The singers have launched a Go Fund Me page to support the Our Streets Now campaign, which has already raised more than £300. 

Suffolk Soul Singers are backing national campaign to end public sexual harassment

The Suffolk Soul Singers have not been able to perform live during the Covid-19 pandemic - Credit: Suffolk Soul Singers

Ms Rolph said: "As the case of Sarah Everard was very much in the news as we were planning this, our members felt strongly that we wanted to do something that would help to tackle the issues of women's safety.

"We believed that the message of hope for the future contained in our video of the Johnny Nash song I Can See Clearly Now fitted the feeling that the time is now right to do something practical about helping anyone, but particularly women and girls, feel unafraid to be out and about on their own."

Motivated by their own experiences, sisters Maya and Gemma Tutton launched the Our Streets Now movement — and a follow-up educational campaign called Our Schools Now. 

Our Schools Now is aiming to include public sexual harassment as part of PSHE/RSE lessons in schools.

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Ms Rolph added: "We are hoping to capture the interest of as many Suffolk high schools as possible, to make them aware of the free KS3 and KS4 resources available from Our Schools Now.

"We are also hoping to make students at colleges and universities in the area aware of the organisation's campaign.

"As members of Suffolk Soul Singers we feel that we are, in a small way, helping to overcome that sense of helplessness by spreading the word to others about practical things that can be done."

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