Women are dying and nothing is being done – why?
Another woman has been killed. More headlines are being generated by the seemingly random and senseless murder of a woman on her way to meet a friend. A journey that should have taken five minutes.
It took a while for the murder of Sabina Nessa to be properly reported. Now that it is attracting the attention it should, once again the question of why violence against women and girls persists is being discussed.
Women before me used the rallying cry of, “Deeds, not words”. That call to arms is as essential today as it was 100 years ago.
Being told that we should not walk in the dark (which would make my commute in Winter frankly impossible) or that we should moderate what clothes we wear is not useful. Nor is giving rape alarms to women. Newsflash – rape alarms do not stop sexual assaults and murders. At best, they stop a sexual assault escalating in to something worse. Would you even know what a rape alarm sounds like? Would you mistake it for a car alarm? I would. Because they sound very similar.
These are not the deeds we need.
Speaking at a press conference appealing for information about Sabina’s murder, Det. Ch. Supt. Trevor Lawry said, “The streets are safe for women.”
He is wrong. They are far from safe. And nothing will change until societal values at their very core are upended.
Upskirting photographs of girls at school are endemic. A culture that puts forward that consent can be a grey area if someone has been drinking alcohol is the norm. Indecent exposure by a police officer was not properly investigated, culminating in the death of Sarah Everard.
Sexism, misogyny and discrimination remain unchallenged. Until that changes we will keep reading these headlines. Keep attending vigils for women who were taken from their family and friends too soon. Keep reading statistics that confirm most women do not report their sexual assaults on the presumption that they will not be believed.
The deeds we need are education at the earliest possible age promoting equality, support from allies to call out discrimination, proper investigation of those who commit sexual assaults. There should be no judgment of women who report sexual assaults. No questions about what they were wearing. No questions about how much they had had to drink.
Stop questioning women. Start questioning why society means violence against women and girls is an epidemic.
Anyone with information or any witnesses are being asked to call police on 101, reference 5747/18. To remain anonymous please contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.