Speaking for the Lost

On Saturday it was business as usual in our house. Business as usual means running around like a blue arsed fly mostly.

We took our friend Will to BBC Radio Leicester in the morning to talk about his crowdfunding project for his wedding and to speak about his cancer diagnosis. It was a fantastic interview, and you totally couldn’t tell he’d never been on the radio before. He rocked it. You can listen to it here. It’s on at about 1 hour 45 minutes in.

Jason gave Will the chauffeur treatment home while Tallulah and I nipped off to Leicester Clock Tower (regular readers will know that the Clock Tower is the nexus for any and all activity in Leicester) to take part in an event organised by Women’s Aid Leicestershire.

It was the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Week.

One in three women will experience domestic violence in their lives (one in six men). For every seven women killed, there will be two men killed by domestic violence. Statistics show that these women are killed by husbands, partners, fathers and sons. The figures for domestic violence against men and boys shows that they are also hurt by other men in their families as well as women, by the way. I will reiterate here what I have already said elsewhere. Nobody is saying that domestic violence is exclusively a women’s problem. Nobody is saying that domestic violence against men is acceptable. It’s just a fact that it affects more women (and children) than it does men.

In the UK in the last year, 124 women were killed by their partners, husbands or male members of their family. That equals one every three days.

Refuges for women are being forced to close all the time due to government cuts. What refuges remain open cannot cope with the number of women and children seeking help from violent and abusive family situations. National Women’s Aid statistics show that 92 women and 75 children were turned away from a refuge in one single day in 2015. Leicester women’s refuge is under threat of closure and is only being kept open by the goodwill of fundraisers and donors.

The Women’s Aid event called for women to come forward and stand at the Clock Tower to honour and remember those women who lost their lives. A list was read out of every woman’s name and age, and as each woman’s name was read out, one of us, standing for them, put on a white mask and stood in silence to show the space where they no longer were. We stood for girls as young as fifteen and women in their eighties, we stood for women of every age, colour and creed. We stood for people from our city who are now lost. We stood for women all over the country.

It was profoundly affecting and a great honour to be a part of it. I have been involved in quite a few events and protests in the last twelve months, and not one of them made the impact on the weekend shoppers that this did. I hope it highlighted just what a tragedy this situation is. I hope it made a change for someone, somewhere. You can read the article here.

We had great support on the day from everyone who stopped to watch and talk to us. Men just as affected as women.

In the comments below the article I’ve linked to  are the usual comments by men about ‘what about men?’ and how ‘sexist’ this is.

Firstly, there were men there, helping, supporting, collecting for the women’s refuge that Women’s Aid run, handing out leaflets.

Secondly, Women’s Aid also run a group to help support men who suffer from domestic violence. If you need help, they’re there for you too. Nobody condones domestic violence of any kind and it is abhorrent to think people believe it’s being used as some kind of gender war bargaining chip over who is being oppressed more.

Thirdly, if you’re really that bloody bothered about being oppressed and how it’s not fair, why not do what these women do (with no funding from government I might add)? Why not organise yourselves, get off your backsides and go out and make a difference rather than sit behind a keyboard whinging about how unfair it is? The Clock Tower is as free for you to use as it is for everyone else.

In the meantime, if you want to help support what Women’s Aid do, or a project near you, they need donations, they need emergency care packs for women and children who have to flee and do not have time to bring their belongings with them. They need people willing to spread the word about the threat these spaces are under. They need volunteers willing to help. Every year instead of sending Christmas cards I donate what I would spend to a charity that speaks to me. Last year I donated to Refuge, who do a fantastic job of providing help for those suffering from domestic violence nationally. This year I’ll be donating to Women’s Aid Leicestershire.

8 responses to “Speaking for the Lost

  1. I worked for women’s aid many, many years ago, nearly 40 I think and it breaks my hear that it is still need as much if not more than ever – good on you Katy for still speaking up and taking action against this

  2. I don’t know if you can spare a moment, but I reckon you’d make a good MP if you had the time.

  3. Well said Katy. In West Cornwall we have a number of events on this week to raise awareness of domestic violence. On Friday evening in Penzance we have the ‘Reclaim the Night’ march from St John’s Hall at 5.30p.m. This is to highlight the danger that women face walking alone at night in our town centres. Supportive men are welcome to walk along side of us.

  4. I am seriously wondering what the hell is wrong with some of these keyboard warriors, or more appropriately keyboard whingers.
    This was obviously an incredibly moving event that brilliantly highlighted the ultimate tragic outcome of domestic violence, and hopefully raised awareness and inspired some people to support Woman’s Aid and other related organisations.
    What it wasn’t was an attempt to suggest that men are always the aggressors or belittle male victims of domestic violence, and it takes an extraordinary degree of paranoia or egocentric thinking to conclude otherwise.
    I very much doubt, from their responses, if any of the posters had suffered personally or, as is all too common, they bothered to do any research into Woman’s Aid before criticising.
    These are the sort of people who could watch a passenger ferry sink with all hands lost and in the shocked aftermath start complaining ‘what about me? I once fell out of a pedalo at the park and caught a really nasty chill but nobody cared about that’.
    It’s not just a post truth society we are fighting, but a post empathy and post perspective one.

    I have found a food bank centre run by a local charity which I will be donating to (as well as the supermarket collection bins) so I will now find out where the nearest refuge is located.
    Thank you for doing what you do and keep on spreading the word, we’ll beat all these bastards one protest/petition/donation at a time!

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