Soma Sara is the 22-year-old working to eradicate rape culture according to vogue.

 Soma Sara is the 22-year-old working to eradicate rape culture according to vogue.

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.

Why does this cause feel so important to you? 

No future generations should have to suffer like mine and the ones before us. We are doing this for them — I don’t want my baby sister to have to go through what I did. We must do everything we can to end these deeply entrenched cycles of abuse. 

If you could sum up the ethos of your work in five words, what would they be? 

Everyone’s Invited —  it’s inclusive, it’s empathetic, it’s empowering. 

Do you think being a young woman impacts your success?

As many of the testimonies are from women I feel that I am in a privileged position… I have a deeper understanding as I can see from their perspective. I don’t think it’s impacted my success, as I’m focused on being totally inclusive. 

What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced thus far? 

Finding the strength to share my own personal story. 

What do you think the significance of social media is for activism right now? 

There is so much power in social media. It works as a catalyst for social movements — the immediacy, the accessibility of information, the globalisation. It can also be destructive —  like many things, it’s a double-edged sword. Technology and social media in so many ways has exacerbated rape culture. Age-old behaviours are taken to terrifying new extremes, with intimate photos being shared on Google Drives without consent, while “lad chat” permeates group chats on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. 

What needs to be done to ensure that Everyone’s Invited’s message is heard, and that ultimately, young women feel safe?

Keep talking, keep learning, keep sharing. Everyone’s invited to this conversation. Everyone needs to take part if we want to bring about real and meaningful change. Everyone will only feel safe when their complex experiences of rape culture are understood. 

If you had just 150 words to use as a catalyst for change on the matter, what would you say? 

I want to thank every brave survivor who has shared their story on Everyone’s Invited. Even if you aren’t ready to share, please know that you can visit our website and view the testimonies of thousands and take strength in the knowledge that you are not alone. No one should be shamed for having these experiences, or gaslighted, or victim-blamed when they come forward. Believe survivors. 


“Home is where the story begins…”

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