Reclaim Sutton’s Streets marks Global 16 Days Campaign against violence against women

On 27 November, the Reclaim Sutton’s Streets group marched on Sutton high street to coincide with the Global 16 Days Campaign.

The campaign aims to raise awareness about violence against women, taking place between 25 November -10 December each year.

Reclaim Sutton’s Streets was founded earlier this year following the murder of Sarah Everard and local reports of violence against women to Sutton Women’s Centre.

The group has organised several events to call for measures to help eradicate violence against women.

Chair of Reclaim Sutton’s Streets, Sarah McGuinness, said: “Today we’ve done a ‘Say Her Name’ march.

“126 women have been killed up until this point in 2021 and hardly anyone knows their names.

“What we wanted to do today was honour and highlight and pay respects to all the women that have been killed by male violence since Sarah Everard.”

The group walked from Asda to Trinity Square with flowers and placards showing the names of women killed by acts of violence.

Inspirational speakers Alison Bunting, Joyce Bossey and Natalie Wright also spoke at the event.

Pre-pandemic, domestic abuse accounted for 38% of all violence with injury in Sutton, according to research commissioned by the council.

During lockdowns, rates of domestic violence across the country increased, though the ONS notes the trend is partly explained by improved reporting techniques by police.

Sutton Council has since aimed to encourage reporting of abuse via the Not Alone in Sutton website.

At a council meeting on 22 November, Councillor Jenny Batt also raised a motion to push for new legislation against misogyny.

Cllr Batt said: “We are calling on the government to make misogyny a hate crime and to make public sexual harassment a hate crime as well.

“At the moment I don’t think we truly understand the scale of the problem.

“We know the awful statistics about how many women are killed at the hands of men but I don’t think we really know how women are impacted everyday by sexual harassment, catcalling and all of those offenses which aren’t really properly reported or investigated.”

On Monday, Sutton Council signed up to the White Ribbon Campaign, which encourages men and boys to pledge to speak out against violence against women when they see it.

With support from the council, Reclaim Sutton’s Streets hopes to continue to effect change locally while challenging wider narratives on violence against women.

Londoners affected by this issue can call the London Victim Assessment and Referral Service for free on 0808 168 9291 (Mon–Fri 8am–8pm, Sat 9am–5pm)

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