Former England International Sue Smith has encouraged women to speak out if they have concerns about their safety.

The topic of women’s safety has been discussed heavily in recent weeks after the murder of Sarah Everard and subsequent events surrounding her vigil on Clapham Common.

A survey by UN Women UK released in March found that among women aged 18-24, 97 per cent said they had been sexually harassed, while 80 per cent of all women had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces.

This week, it was a topic on The Women’s Football Show, with Smith and England defender Lucy Bronze sharing their views.

Smith said: “Sport reflects society in so many different ways doesn’t it? And football for me has always been a safe place but I think it’s just really important for people to speak out if there is anything that maybe stops them feeling safe.

“It could just be something like if you’re walking home from training in the dark.

“I was quite lucky when I was younger – my parents would always meet me after training. When I got old enough, I used to drive and I had teammates that I would travel with so I always felt that safety in those times but I know that isn’t the case for everybody.

“So I just think it’s really important that we all feel safe anywhere.”

Bronze: We need to speak out about safety

Bronze, who this week said a better understanding of menstrual cycles could be the “extra inch” between World Cup success and failure for England, said: “It’s the sad truth really, isn’t it.

“What we need to do is speak out, talk more about these issues, whether it’s periods, whether it’s feeling safe, whether it’s mental health.

“There are so many things and the more people that can speak out and make it more of a comfortable space for other people to speak out, there’s more strength in numbers.

“But the strength is we make up 50 per cent of the population so there’s no reason why as women, strong women, you can’t stand up and make a change.

“When these subjects come to light and you can hear other people’s stories, it’s sad to think that there’s so much going on but some people – like I said before – they don’t speak out, and people don’t speak because you think no one is going to listen to you.

“We all have a part to play, whatever that might be, and we can make a difference.”

You can watch the full discussion on a repeat of the Women’s Football Show on Sunday at 9am on Sky Sports Football, or Sunday at 10am on Sky Sports Mix.

(c) Sky Sports 2021: Women’s Football Show: Sue Smith says women should speak out if they have safety concerns


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