Reports of sexual assault on London Underground increasing at alarming rate
Photo by Joseph Balzano on Unsplash

Just because people aren't talking about a problem doesn't mean it's not there. Nor does it mean a problem is new when it suddenly becomes part of a national conversation. Sexual assaults on the London Underground have increased by 42% since 2015. In 2015/2016, 844 sexual assaults were reported, and that number leapt to 1,206 in 2018/19. Assaults were more likely to occur during rush hour, and on the night tube. At first glance, it sounds like London has a horrible epidemic on its hands, but the huge increase might be due to the fact that more people are reporting sexual assault.

Local police and Transport for London (TfL) — the government body responsible for the transport system in the city — launched a campaign called "Report It To Stop It," encouraging victims to report sexual assault. "With the campaign in place since April 2015, we fully expected to record a rise in sexual offences and, though it is clearly a concern that so many people are affected by this type of crime, it is pleasing that previously reluctant victims of sexual offences now have the confidence to report this to us," Detective Inspector David Udomhiaye told The Telegraph.


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TfL is also making more of an attempt to stop assault. According to Siwan Hayward, TfL director of policing, there are 3,000 police and police community support officers in place to halt sexual assault. "This activity includes running regular covert patrols on the tube network with plain-clothed officers, which have been successful in catching offenders and encouraging more people to report offences," Hayward told The Guardian.

CCTV cameras have not only caught criminals, they've also helped to deter sexual assault. The Central line, which doesn't currently have CCTV, saw the most reports of sexual assault, with 1,054 known incidents since 2015.TfL has plans to put CCTV cameras in the Central line by 2023, which will hopefully bring that number down.

Even though more people are coming forward, sexual assault on the London Underground is still under-reported, as is sexual assault in general.It is estimated that 83% of sexual assaults in England and Wales go unreported. America doesn't have a much better track record. The Department of Justice says that 80% of sexual assaults and rapes go unreported in the States. Sexual assault in the U.K. is on the rise, not just in the subways, but again, it is believed that the increase is because more victims are willing to come forward and report what happened to them.

RELATED: Emma Watson launches hotline that provides women legal advice on workplace sexual harassment

It's great that transit officials are acknowledging the problem and working to make sure commutes are less dangerous. And hopefully one day, we'll be able to confidently ride the subways without fear. But in the meantime, they need to do more. Andrea Simon, the End Violence Against Women Coalition's head of public affairs told The Guardian: "It's not enough to just encourage the reporting of sexual harassment and assaults. Alongside this we need to be proactively identifying offenders and stopping them."

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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