It may not be all men, but it’s certainly all women, as we, once again, gather in groups, clutching candles, deeply distressed that another solitary sister has died from male violence.
This was very much on my mind as I joined the Vigil at Cardiff’s Grange Gardens last week to remember twenty-three year old Ashling Murphy, a week after she was fatally attacked.
And Lily Ann Sullivan, aged 18, whose body was discovered near the Pembroke Mill Pond just eight days before Christmas.
The brutal deaths of the teenager and the Primary School teacher killed as she jogged along a Northern Ireland canal path in broad daylight has triggered a mass outpouring of grief.
Who hasn’t felt the miss of a heartbeat if a man walks too close, clutched their keys as a weapon in poorly-lit car park, plotted their late night home journey with military precision, and organised their exercise around the daylight.
I know I have – and I’m going to guess that it’s not unfamiliar to many of my fellow females too.
Unfortunately these Vigils are also nothing new too just dire reminders of the real threat out there.
One Irish politician has described domestic, sexual and gender-based violence against women as an epidemic.
I agree with that.
Will we ever forget the heart-breaking story of Sarah Everard, raped, murdered and body burnt by a serving police office – from the same force that then arrested those who came to Clapham Common to honour her memory.
Or sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, stabbed to death as they walked through Wembley Park a few months later.
Or Sabina Nessa killed late last Autumn whilst strolling through south-east London – and the many, many more murdered by males.
Sarah was walking home, Nicole and Bibaa were partying, Sabina was on her way to meet a mate, and Ashling ready for her regular run.
But to be brutally honest, in my view, it doesn’t matter what you are doing, or what time of day it is, we woman should be able to walk the streets safely…whenever.
Truth be told though, the real issue here is male violence not women’s safety.
So what we all going to do about it then?
A meaningful Reclaim the Streets movement, powerful protests as we demand action on this epidemic, galvanise a government into action, and making sure that men step up.
We are a society that finally needs to take a long and hard look at itself, listen to women’s lived experience, and start smashing the patriarchy.
For me, it’s time for us all to unite in solidarity against male violence, misogyny, and the many unfair structures and systems we females face.
I’m up for it.
The Voice Of Our Community
Sue Vincent-Jones, blogging as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She writes about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
Sue’s Views, the reboot of her much-loved infamous B&D opinion column from back in the day, is where Sue gives her take on the hot topics we are all talking about in our beautiful Barry, and beyond – the good, the bad…and the ugly.