Kent Police estimate that there are 2379 cases of rape every year across Kent and Medway. 1 in 5 girls in Medway report that they have experienced an attempted or actual sexual assault and these figures don’t take into account unreported crimes.
You could say PinUp PayBack was born from necessity in the Medway Towns where sexual violence seems almost endemic to our society. They believe action is better than reaction and through their work tackling rape culture they hope to reduce these harrowing statistics and prevent attack rather than provide services for aftercare when an attack has already occurred.
Their three tier campaign, Sisterhood Watch, launching officially this December, includes initiatives such as a telephone application which will bring women closer to each other and enable advanced communication between Medway’s night clubs, taxi firms, neighbourhood watches, and Medway SOS services.
The aim is to help anyone feeling threatened to raise the alarm at the first sign of danger when they would usually feel uncomfortable phoning the police. They have also written a model for a revolutionised, modern neighbourhood watch to be introduced to younger residents who are more plugged into the community.
They are also working on a cultural overhaul to help Medway women, girls and all who identify as female to feel empowered, educated and supported in their decisions in an environment where their right to feel safe in public space is respected.
Though the primary interest of these campaigns is the safety of women, don’t be disillusioned that this is a girls’ club, as Events and Social Media Manager at PinUp PayBack, Ollie Crook will tell you.
“Men play a crucial role in the fight to end rape culture and violence against women. It’s a taboo subject that we have always considered to be a ‘woman’s issue’ but PinUp PayBack are working with men and boys throughout November’s ‘feMANism’ campaign to start a dialogue and get everyone thinking about the work they can do to help.”
The organisation co-founded by sisters Candy and Holly-Mae Worf in 2012 also works with the community in creative endeavours which seek to harness and encourage women’s participation in the arts.
Throughout September PinUp PayBack held free music lessons, song writing workshops and consciousness raising sessions all to encourage women’s participation in Medway’s infamous music scene. This month they are promoting positive body image with Kate Bush Aerobics and PinUp – Power Yoga in co-operation with ‘Rooted In Yoga’, and much more!
PinUp PayBack are currently raising funds to help put these plans into action. They’re an organisation of volunteers dedicating their time to improve the towns they call home and every penny will help towards funding free self-defence classes for anyone who feels at risk in our society as well as other exciting and liberating new ventures. Visit the Indiegogo site to sponsor them and they’ll ‘pay you back’ with free merchandise, hand stitched quilts and crafts.
Words: Candy Worf
Follow the campaign:
Donate to PinUp PayBack via Indiegogo
If you want to be a PinUp PayBacker and help to Make Medway Safe, email secretary and press officer, email@example.com for meeting dates and how you can be involved.