Roses may be over, and they may have been red, but that doesn’t mean that Roses 2023 wasn’t an incredibly important event that will have a far-reaching impact on both the University of York and University of Lancaster.
This year Rose’s aimed to ‘Shine a Light’ on sexual violence, in a campaign that began with a moving article from York Sport Union President Franki Riley. Throughout the weekend there were numerous opportunities to donate to the Roses charity partner Survive, who are a local charity who help survivors of sexual assault and violence, with counselling, trauma therapy, and other support work.
At the closing ceremony, it was announced that over the weekend, £2,800 was raised.On top of this, both Universities then announced that they will match the donations and each purchase one of the two pieces of artwork displayed over the weekend. This took the total money raised to £8,000. At the end of the opening ceremony (which you can read about here), CEO of Survive Mags Godderidge exclaimed “the whole thing has been hopeful. Hope about everything. People hoping to win, people hoping that things will change”.
The amount of money raised is the biggest amount in Roses history.
Nouse caught up with Mags Godderidge about a week after Roses to see how she and the rest of the charity were feeling, and there was a resounding sense of gratitude: “We were grateful to be chosen as the charity partner for Roses 2023 and to have a light shone on the difficult subject of sexual violence and abuse. We were even more grateful and a little bit overwhelmed when the Vice Chancellor of the University of York generously announced at the closing ceremony that both universities would each match any funds raised.”
Since the pandemic, Survive has received an unprecedented amount of referral. In March 2023, they had received 932 new referrals. This was up by 40 percent on the previous 12 months and up by 350 percent in just six years. This dramatic increase highlights just another reason why it was so important for Roses to echo campaigns such as #MeToo and #EveryonesInvited and raise awareness for sexual violence within sport, and particularly encourage students to speak up.
Mags explained why it was so important that Survive engaged with students “We know that young people aged 18 to 25-years-old are more likely than any other age group to be subjected to sexual violence or abuse. Being a student increases that risk. Of the young people in that age group helped by Survive in 2022, one in four were students”. This statistic highlights the importance of students knowing where they can get support and go to a safe and supportive place.
Mags went on to explain that “one in seven of all adult survivors supported by Survive in York was a student. The students contacted Survive because of things that happened to them several months or years ago. Around a third contacted Survive because of things that happened to them when they were children meaning some students are arriving at the universities in York with histories of sexual trauma.”
Everyone deserves and needs the opportunity for their voice to be heard and to be supported, Survive is here for that and for students. Mags celebrated this by praising the students who spoke up and got involved with fundraising efforts throughout the weekend: “Without doubt, the brave and courageous testimonies of survivors throughout the Roses event including those written on the specially commissioned artwork will encourage more survivors to find their voice and come forward and secure the help they need to heal”.
As for the legacy of Roses, Mags stated: “We want there to be a lasting legacy to Roses 2023 and its theme of ‘Shine a light’. We will be sitting down with the University of York in the coming weeks to see how best we can support student survivors and ensure that they get the help they need as quickly as possible to help them rebuild their lives after sexual trauma”.
Roses 2023 has demonstrated the power in unity, and the power in vulnerability. Speaking out and asking for help is one of the hardest things to do, but when you do there are friends, and support networks like Survive who are there to help.
Editor’s Note: For those in need of support you can reach Survive on their free helpline 0808 145 1887, where you can speak in confidence to their specially trained team and you do not need to give your name. They also give support to the friends and family of survivors.