Women across the country were not being listened to.
Here’s how we ensured their voices were heard.
Cheil London launched #WEcount in March 2016 on behalf of The Women’s Equality Party. Beginning with a short film featuring the inspirational story of a rape survivor, Pavan Amara, we issued a rallying cry to women across the country to write the postcode of a place where they had experienced sexual assault on their hand and share it via social media with the hashtag #WEcount. This simple, physical act created a platform where shared experiences could be discussed openly. We then built a custom Google map and invited women to anonymously mark the locations of their sexual assault anywhere in the country. Once dropped, the pin changed into an exclamation mark and revealed the pins of others in the surrounding area. The final stage was to reclaim the streets for real; first through a call-to-action billboard located at London’s busiest shopping centre. Then, via a series of real-world markers that, when scanned on a mobile device, turned sites of sexual violence into an augmented reality resource where users could explore survivors’ stories and ‘reclaim the streets’ via geo-targeted tweets.
Since #WEcount launched, women from all over the UK (and beyond) have made their mark on the #WEcount interactive map – with as many as 130 pins being placed a day and over 900,000 visits since going live. Every pin is the beginning of another woman’s story – possibly one that hasn’t been heard before – and is helping to break down social taboos around sexual violence. The interactive exclamation point markers have become a symbol of solidarity, empowering even more women to speak out against their attackers and have their voice heard. On social media, the response was instant and powerful with #WEcount trending within hours of launch. Tackling the issue in this way caught the interest of major media outlets, with coverage from The Huffington Post to Forbes magazine.
The main objective of the campaign was to raise awareness of this serious issue and the WEP’s associated policies; not only with women, but also within the wider voting population. In total, we have reached over 3 million people so far and helped the Women’s Equality Party receive over 350,000 votes in their first London mayoral election.