A WOMEN'S charity has launched a new campaign to highlight the everyday precautions girls and women take to stay safe.

Isabel Owens, deputy chief executive officer of Darlington and County Durham Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre, launched #AboutFace today.

RSACC has teamed up with a university football team for the campaign to raise awareness of the everyday actions women take to keep themselves safe.

With the help of Durham University’s Collingwood College AFC, RSACC will highlight the things that women do, and the things that men don’t need to do, like changing the way they dress, where they go and what they do, to protect themselves from physical and sexual violence.

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It will also illustrate what that action might look and sound like, if it was the other way round and men felt they had to take the same steps just to stay safe.

The campaign's launch coincided with White Ribbon Day, part of the global White Ribbon Campaign aimed at ending violence against women and girls, and the start of the UN’s 16 Days of Action to Eliminate Violence Against Women.

Isabel said: “From being children girls are taught to police their own actions in order to keep themselves safe.

"From not going out alone in the dark to avoiding groups of men on the street – the list is endless.

"However, cases like the recent Sarah Everard rape and murder show us that it is not girls and women who need educating on their behaviour.

“The prevalence of sexual violence in our society is at unprecedented recorded levels.

"What is deeply worrying is that rape and sexual abuse are the lowest reported crimes – with many survivors feeling guilt or shame or think they won’t be believed if they report their abuse.

“We have seen from the response to recent rape and murder cases and the rise in incidences in needle and drink spiking, just how concerned we are as a society to the everyday fear girls and women feel and the steps they take to try and keep themselves safe.

"These steps have become expected – the norm – but what it means is that women daily risk assess their lives.

"This has to change, women and girls shouldn’t have to change their behaviour to feel safe”

To follow the campaign on social media use #AboutFace.

For sexual violence survivors who need support, Darlington and County Durham Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre runs a helpline on Monday and Tuesdays from 10am to 2pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6.30pm to 9pm.

For help call it on 0300-2225730.

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