Uncovering Rape Culture: Zara McDermott Speaks Out About The Problem With 'Get Home Safe'
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Featured Image Credit: BBC
Words by Kimberley Bond and Lucy Devine
Zara McDermott has raised an important issue about telling women and girls to "get home safe" after a night out.
The former Love Island contestant is returning to BBC Three with a brand new documentary that sets to explore violence against women and girls, and how it's affecting school-age children.
Uncovering Rape Culture sees Zara, 24, visit schools to find the root of the problem of misogynistic attitudes, and is left stunned by the accounts of dozens of schoolgirls detailing their own experiences.
However, Zara shows how firmly ingrained the problem is in society, pointing towards the common expression of wellbeing many women say to each other at the end of an evening out.
"I’ve definitely noticed, even yesterday I was driving home and I had the car window open and it was dark and I heard a woman say to her friend 'get home safe,'" she told Tyla.
"It’s just one of those things we say as women but are we insinuating that that might not happen? It’s part of our vocabulary, it’s part of our culture, it shouldn’t be but it is.
"I would never have thought anything of that comment, it’s weird that we say that. I shouldn’t have to say to my friends get home safe because they should be able to get home safe."
Zara decided to make the documentary, a follow-up from her previous short film about revenge porn, after she was attacked in 2017 by a schoolboy. She believes her assailant couldn't have been much older than 14 or 15.
"That was something that I processed and dealt with a long time ago – I won’t sit here and say that it really, really affected me because it kind of didn’t - I think it was circumstantial, the middle of the day, a younger boy and in some way I felt like I could overpower him," she said of the attack.
"If circumstances were different maybe not, it was so quick, over in a flash, it was happening then it was over. What more so frustrated me was the police not being able to find him and do anything about it and also, there was another incident that happened in the same place with another girl and it made me think was that him.
"It sparked a conversation in my own head of the issues going on – why did a school boy approach me that day? Why did he feel like he could? What gave him the sense of entitlement over my body, a girl just walking home through the park? Where did he learn this behaviour? So I think that incident sparked a conversation for me and I've been able to pick that up so many years later with this documentary."
The past year has seen much conversation sparked about women's safety.
Uncovering Rape Culture is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.