You may already recognise 22 year-old Soma Sara, following her recent appearances in national broadsheets and on television to discuss her platform, Everyone’s Invited, a space where young people in their droves have anonymously shared harrowing true stories of sexual harassment and abuse. ? ??
Launched in June 2020, Everyone’s Invited publishes first-person accounts from young people, mostly women, living in the UK. By encouraging people to come forward with their own stories, Sara not only shines a light on an urgent conversation, she highlights in particular how patterns of abuse can start at school. “It exists everywhere,” Soma says. Schools named in accounts on the site range from prestigious public schools to comprehensives on the coast. Many entries are from contributors sharing their story for the first time. A recurring theme is summed up in one that ends, “[I] doubt he has ever thought about that night much ever since, yet it has caused me years of shame, anxiety, and depression.”
In light of the conversation sparked by the tragic kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard on 3 March, Soma’s efforts feel more pressing than ever. “The testimonies shared on our website and Instagram have sparked a powerful national conversation,” she says.
Below, Miss Vogue’s latest Girl On A Mission talks about being a catalyst for change, the power of sharing experiences, and why we must believe survivors.
When did you realise you needed to use your voice to highlight the issue of rape culture?
I started Everyone’s Invited in June 2020 after having many conversations with friends and realising how prevalent rape culture was throughout my teenage years. We were saddened to understand just how many of us had shared similar experiences in such formative years.?
Everyone’s Invited is all about granting survivors a voice — why did you choose this way into campaigning?
There is so much power in a story, and Everyone’s Invited is extraordinary proof of that. The testimonies shared on our website and Instagram have sparked a powerful national conversation. My team and I are so inspired by the incredible bravery of every survivor who has shared their story. Even though the testimonies are desperately moving, this has been uplifting — it feels like a real moment of transformative change.?