Do we need safe spaces?
Have you ever thought about the meaning of ‘’safe spaces’’? How these kinds of spaces contribute to people’s wellbeing? Sometimes, it is easy to know what safe space means but it is not always easy to detect the need for that. According to Cambridge dictionary, there are two simple definitions, which can help us to define safe space: ‘’a place or situation in which you are protected from harm or danger’’ and ‘’a place or room, for example at a university, where people can go if they feel upset or threatened’’. The call for safe spaces should be reflected in all spheres that people participate in their daily life. For instance, to be raised up in a safe space, either at the family home or either at school, it will determine your behavior and attitude in front of others. Moreover, a safe space is not only helpful for building healthy relationships but also, it can help to build critical thinking. Due to that, to have safe spaces is still important in youth and adult stage. Universities, work or places where people develop leisure activities are environments where individuals spend a lot of time, sharing knowledge, opinions and creating peer groups.
By providing a private space for non-privilege identities to express their forms of discourse without the linguistic oppression, they are able to develop the consciousness of their identities and create spaces in both their minds and communities in order to resist marginalization and oppression and attain a more prominent voice within the society.
Can you imagine a place where you can be free to be who you are or want to be? A safe space should be a place or environment in which each person or category of people can feel confident that they will no be exposed to discrimination, or any other emotional or physical harm. This idea contributes to respect people and be able to share with others, points of view, knowledge or any kind of exchange based on tolerance. Hence, people can feel free to express their ideas and then, be more open to receiving other feedback and to strengthen critical thinking about the systems which we are involved in.
But safe spaces do not have to be only formal places related to educational or working establishments. Safe spaces can be churches as well as mosques, temples or any building used for religious activities. Despite our individual thoughts about religion, the respect towards other people expressing their faith is something that every individual should have as a flag.
In these recent months, the attacks to religious sites have received the attention of the international community (although it depends on the place, it always receives more or less attention). On 21st of March, 50 people have been killed and another 50 wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, is the deadliest attack in the country’s history. One month later, on 21st of April, several churches were targeted in bombing attacks, along with hotels and a banquet hall in Sri Lanka, leaving 290 dead and more than 500 injured and marking the country’s deadliest violence in a decade. Also, this last terrifying episode took place on Easter, one of the most important dates on the Christian calendar.
Both attacks showed divided religious societies and at the same time, people united in order to completely deny any kind of violence. One of the great examples of that was the speech that Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, who gave two weeks after the mosque attacks.
Guardian News. (2019). Jacinda Ardern’s full Christchurch speech: ‘Let us be the nation we believe ourselves to be’.
The speech tried to show a united message in order to embrace the Muslim community, offering condolences and rejecting any act of discrimination. Thousands of people who approach Jacinda in her speech wanted to launch a message of union and a call for peace. So, there is hope in our humanity and there are people who fight and condemn these unacceptable actions every day.
Finally, to build safe spaces should be one of the solutions that we should bet for. If we start to raise awareness about solidarity, pacifist societies, and tolerance towards difference since the very beginning, we would be able to achieve more than we think. Belonging to our identity group is one of the most rewarding feelings that we can experience, but most rewarding is not to forget that at the end, we belong to the same human group and we have to take care of each other.
Bailey, D. (2019). ‘’Christchurch shootings: How the attacks unfolded’’. BBC News. Retrieved from
Cambridge dictionary. Retrieved from
Taylor, A & Noach, R. (2019). ‘’Christianity under attack? Sri Lanka church bombings stoke far-right anger in the West.’’ The Washington Post. Retrieved from
The Guardian. ‘’Jacinda Ardern’s speech at Christchurch memorial – full transcript’’. Retrieved from