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Christmas message: Nikki Owen, This Ends Now


Sometimes, a year goes fast. Others, it seeps, merging and flowing. 2023 for This Ends Now has been both.

An organisation born and bred on the streets of Stroud, This Ends Now, was founded by my co-founder, Syndey McCallister and me in response to men sexually assaulting women in the area. That sentence is important. Read it again. In response to men sexually assaulting women. Because so used are we to hearing this: woman sexually assaulted. No mention of the perpetrator, just an onus on the woman.

In essence, victim blaming. And so to 2023. Only one-year-old and This Ends Now has developed, with Gloucestershire Police, the UK’s first police constabulary external communications policy that directs on language police should use when it comes to talking to the public about rape and sexual assault, language that avoids victim blaming and instead focuses on the perpetrator. It seems so small, but believe me, it can make a huge difference, language. It can change minds and behaviour.

It’s been a journey. This Ends Now has grown from Syndey and me to 22 incredible global volunteers who tirelessly work to ask the law to do better, the media to do better, and men to step up. The men to step up part is the key bit.

We do not ask how women can keep themselves safe. While that’s vital, we believe change can only happen when men are involved and ask each other and themselves how they can fix the issue in the first place. It’s been challenging.

Our online video response to the Russell Brand sexual assault allegations provoked hundreds of misogynistic comments, but we opened up the conversation. Because talking, getting curious, and making the space to see each other’s point of view, are what works.

It’s this approach that’s seen us invited to parliament for the launch of the 16 days of activism campaign, as well as parliamentary mentions this year, flying the Stroud activism flag.

One year on from our Stroud street protest, This Ends Now was protesting outside The Daily Mail HQ offices in London as part of our Red Pen Campaign.

The brainchild of our Campaigns Coordinator, Elodie, the team stood outside The Daily Mail offices with red pens, slashing and rewriting misogynistic headlines and talking to the public about how the newspaper’s headlines are victim-blaming at best and dangerous at worst.

And so to 2024. Work to be done. The Words Matter Policy with the police will be rolled out to all UK constabularies. And next? A Words Matter policy for the UK Media. Oh yes. A huge challenge, but we are from Stroud. We’ve got this. It’s what we are made of: standing up for what’s right, demanding change for the better, for humanity to be better.

And so we demand better as we walk forward in the new year. Better space for men to talk about how the patriarchy holds us all down and how we can smash it for good. How Universities can do better in handling sexual assault (which is, right now, appalling). How the police can do better to cull misogyny in their forces. How the aw can do better to protect survivors and prosecute perpetrators. And we will ask and ask again so many people to help us achieve this by donating, helping, volunteering, spreading the word as we collaborate with incredible organisations such as the School Consent Project to educate our boys and men on how to be an ally to girls and women.

So, does a year go fast? Hell yes. And does it seep, merge and flow? My goodness, so very much, with love and force and absolute resolute clarity that, together, we are stronger. For we shall and must, for the good of humanity, all do better.

To donate to This Ends Now, see www.thisendsnow.co.uk/donate

Follow This Ends Now on Instagram at @thisendsnow__

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