Niamh Anderson and Polly Smythe win Best Student award

Over the next week we will be publishing information about all of our 2017 Write to End Violence Against Women award winners. You can find the full list here.

You can also listen to interviews with attendees of the Write to End VAW awards, on Engender’s Podcast ‘On The Engender’.

Polly Smythe and Niamh Anderson won the ‘Best Article – Student’ award for their writing on domestic abuse at university. Read the article here: Domestic abuse is happening at university. So why don’t we talk about it?

Polly and Niamh wrote about the fact that our stereotypical image of a domestic abuse victim is not a young university student, despite the fact that women aged 16 – 24 are the group at the highest risk of experiencing domestic abuse. They wrote about university initiatives which tackled sexual harassment and the limitations within these initiatives, as well as how reluctance to label behaviours as ‘coercive’ can prevent reporting.

“Not only are there misconceptions about who can experience domestic abuse, but misconceptions about what that abuse looks like. Women’s Liberation Officer Chris Belous told us that recognition tends to be for the more “obvious signs of abusive, violent relationships, while other things like emotional abuse and gaslighting go unnoticed”. When talking about domestically abusive relationships, so often the first question asked is ‘did they hit you?’. Not only does this significantly downplay the catastrophic effects emotional abuse can have, but makes victims less likely to come forward as they do not feel their relationship is abusive if there is no violence.” 

Judges’ comments: “A hugely important subject with clear and economic prose.”

“Extremely well researched and evidenced and written in an engaging style and strong gender analysis”

Read Polly and Niamh’s article here: Domestic abuse is happening at university. So why don’t we talk about it?

A special mention was awarded to ‘Inside the hospitality industry: a culture of harassment’ , by Richard Joseph with Meilan Solly and Jonathon Skavroneck writing for The Saint. Judges called this piece “A very well researched expose on exploitation in the hospitality industry.”

If you are concerned about your own safety or that of a friend, the Scottish Women’s Aid helpline is free to call, and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on 0800 027 1234. 

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