Women's Safety and the 'Good Guys Guide'
M&C Saatchi have released a 'Good Guys Guide' campaign highlighting steps that men can make to help women feel safer on the streets. But will a campaign like this really make a difference?
For me feeling safe on the streets is something that can change in an instant. I can be walking home and feeling confident but if someone walks too close to me or I can’t see their face it can make my heart beat faster.
The ‘Good Guys Guide’ has the capability of shining a light on the small things that men could do to help women feel more confident. However, it would take men to actively make those changes regularly and over a prolonged period to help women feel safer.
Women make small changes all the time, from texting or calling people before walking home, to holding keys in our hands to use as a weapon in case we’re attacked. But our incentive to do this is to avoid being attacked. There is no such incentive for men to follow this campaign. For it to make a difference it will take men thinking of keeping the women they care about safe and using this as an incentive.
I chatted to some of the other women at PinPoint to discuss how safe they feel walking at night and whether a positive campaign like this one could be the catalyst for positive change. One thing that’s clear is that this is a divisive issue but ultimately if it can get us talking and thinking about women’s safety, then it’s a win!
Amy Green – Business Development Director
“After living in London for 10 years, I have got used to the streets and actually always found it more safe walking around at night because of how busy it is, compared to living back in the sticks. However, there are occasions where guys approaching me made me feel very uncomfortable.
When walking around late at night, I would think about having my phone ready, should I need to call someone or message to say I am on my home, see you in 5 mins. You become accustomed to certain actions like not having music on too loud or sharing my location with my brothers or housemates. Which, when I write it down, seems pretty extreme but I am just used to it
I love the initiative. For an agency to take a step forward and highlighting actions that good guys may take to make women feel safer, is incredible. They are simple, relatable steps that can make a dramatic change; however, more education needs to be available as I do not think these steps will resonate with all guys.
In fact, I have seen that it has angered some people as they feel like they are being told how to run. We do not want to cause a divide and make sure we are being proactive to make sure the message is delivered correctly and effectively through video or animation.
Bethan Wyatt - Executive Assistant
“Having grown up in the country, the big cities like London or Cardiff are usually a treat trip for me, either for shopping or going to a gig or to the rugby. At home, I don’t feel I need to worry about who might be hiding in the bushes or barns. The farming community in general are quite vigilant about unknown vehicles parked in gateways and people not sticking to the designated footpaths or byways, and they are usually politely confronted!
Equally, I feel safe in the city as it’s busy and in more recent years, the public will stick up for others and look out for each other. However I feel like I feel safe because I am a confident woman who can defend herself if necessary, I mean I would give as good as I got. I think it’s also about being savvy, and not making yourself look vulnerable or weak, although I know not every woman can do this. On the other hand, I feel like men have all been tarnished with the same brush now, I know not all men are dangerous or violent, and there are women who frequently intimidate men.
I think this campaign has further highlighted gender inequalities and shows the long standing issues between men and women. Women are just as powerful as men, men just use it in a different way.”
Annabel Lawton Smith - Production Manager
“I generally am always on high alert when I'm out by myself. Of course I have had some bad experiences whilst in public alone which has led to me being more on edge than before. The recent study that showed 97% of young women have been sexually harassed shows that the fear that women, like myself, feel is not illogical.
I think the campaign is a good idea. I imagine a lot of men don't fully listen to women in these circumstances as they think "well I'm not a bad guy, I don't need to do anything different". However, they don't realise that any man can make a woman feel scared whether they have the intention to or not.
If they truly aren't a bad guy then acknowledging the issue and taking small measures to make sure women know they're not a threat (like crossing the street) is the best thing they can do. I particularly think rule #7 is important, men should try to talk to their other male friends about the situation, even if it is a bit awkward to bring up.”