118 Women

That’s the number of names read out on International Women’s Day. The number of women killed last year and the reality of women’s safety and gender based violence in the UK.

There are many things that made Sarah Everard’s case above so many of those named stand out. Her race? Her class? Her education? Most likely an amalgamation of all these factors but for now I want to address that number.

Why? Because the cases of people like Sarah Everard, of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry are outliers. They were killed by strangers. Though like many women I have been harassed on the streets and believe women’s safety in public spaces is a genuine concern, that isn’t where the biggest danger lies.

Statistically, it’s with my loved ones, it’s with my friends, with people I know.

In response to Sarah’s death the government announced 25 million for better lighting, CCTV & putting plain-clothes officers in pubs and clubs. That’s a great start.

But this also feels like a knee jerk reaction. A plaster on an already infected wound. It’s not treating the root of the problem. Reading that list, the causes of death were chilling, a reminder that the majority of women’s murders are at the hands of those they know. 

Before Sarah Covid 19 should have already been a rude awakening about women’s safety. During Covid 19 there has been another ‘shadow pandemic’ according to the UN . Domestic abuse has been rising around the globe. All the lighting in the world won’t stop that growing shadow. 

Sarah was caught on CCTV, and when it comes to gender based violence, the real danger isn’t so much in the bar but after you leave, when you get home. How will a plain clothes officer in a club stop that? I question whether this will bring any real lasting change. Especially, in light of the fact that at the same time the government is pushing the The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. A bill claiming to be about women’s safety but that would make protests and movements that have fought for awareness and civil rights, including gender inequality, face an uncertain future.

I worry this push for women’s safety will be short lived, that the government is using this as a chance to limit our human right to protest. I worry that the names of the 118 women and the reality of their deaths at the hands of people they know will fade away after a flurry of social media posts. 

So, take a minute, read their names, remember them and let’s drag gender based violence out of the shadows…

Betty Dobbin
Sonia Calvi
Maryan Ismail
Daneilla Espirito Santo
Ruth Brown
Denise Keane-Barnett-Simmons
Jadwiga Szczygielsk
Emma Jane McParland 
Louise Aitchison
Silke Hartshorne-Jones
Hyacinth Morris
Louise Smith
Claire Parry
Aya Hachem
Melissa Belshaw
Yvonne ‘Vonnie’ Lawson McCann
Lyndsey Alcock
Aneta Zdun
Nicoleta Zdun
Mandy Houghton
Amy-Leanne Stringfellow
Bibaa Henry
Nicole Smallman
Dawn Bennett
Gemma Marjoram
Karolina Zinkeviciene
Rosemary Hill
Jackie Hoadley
Khloemae Loy
Kerry Woolley
Shelly Clark
Bernadette Walker
Stella Frew
Dawn Fletcher
Deborah Jones/Hendrick
Patrycja Wyrebek
Therasia Gordon
Esther Egbon
Susan Baird
Balvinder Gahir
Lynda Cooper
Lorraine Cox
Suzanne Winnister
Maria Howarth
Abida Karim
Saman Mir Sacharvi
Vian Mangrio
Poorna Kaameshwari Sivaraj (and three-year-old son)
Louise Rump
Julie Williams
Rhonda Humphreys
Nicole McGregor
Angela Webber
Carole Wright
Sarah Smith
Ildiko Bettison
Kimberly Deakin
Marie Gladders
Paula Leather
Caroline Kayll
Lauren Mae Bloomer
Hansa Patel
Helen Bannister
Marta Vento
Andreia Patricia Rodriguez Guilherme
Joanna Borucka
Azaria Williams
Catherine Granger
Eileen Dean
Sue Addis
Carol Hart
Jacqueline Price
Mary Wells
Tiprat Argatu
Christie Frewin
Souad Bellaha
Ann Turner
N’Taya Elliott-Cleverley
Rose Marie Tinton
Ranjit Gill
Helen Joy
Emma Robertson
Nicole Anderson
Linda Maggs
Carol Smith
Sophie Moss
Christina Rowe
Susan Hannaby
Michelle Lizanec
Wieslawa Mierzejewska
Judith Rhead
Anna Ovsyannikova
Tina Eyre
Katie Simpson
Bennylyn Burke and her two-year-old daughter
Samantha Heap
Geetika Goyal
Imogen Bohajczuk
Wenjing Xu
Sarah Everard
Vanita Nowell
Tracey Kidd
Nelly Mustafa
Zahida Bi
Josephine Kaye
Shadika Mohsin Patel
Maureen Kidd
Wendy Morse
Nageeba Alariqy
Elsie Smith
Kelly Stewart
Gwendoline Bound
Ruth Williams
Victoria Woodhall
Kelly Fitzgibbons + two daughters
Caroline Walker
Katie Walker
Zobaidah Salangy

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