On 25 November, White Ribbon Day – International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women & Girls, the Norwich Women’s Rights Group (NWRG) shone a light on a disturbing reality: in the past year, over one hundred women and girls in the UK have fallen victim to violence perpetrated by men. They call for urgent action.
White Ribbon Day 2023
White Ribbon Day is dedicated to raising awareness about violence against women and girls and taking action to prevent it. It also aims to remind people of the importance of addressing gender-based violence and promoting gender equality. This year, the theme is ‘Change the story’ for women and girls so that they may live their lives free from fear of violence.
On Saturday, in a poignant display of remembrance, the group publicly recited the names of these victims in Norwich City Centre. This commemoration will continue at various locations in Norfolk over the next two weeks as part of the 16 Days of Action.
‘In her own home’
Examining the data reveals a distressing pattern: women and girls are overwhelmingly targeted by men they know intimately – partners, ex-partners, friends, fathers, brothers, sons, and grandsons. The chilling recurrence of the phrase ‘in her own home’ underscores the urgent need to address domestic violence as a societal concern.
NWRG wants immediate attention and action from local councils, MPs, and candidates of all political affiliations. Their message is aimed at Norwich City Council, Norfolk County Council, and district councils, requesting that policymakers prioritise the safety, privacy, and dignity of women in all their decision-making processes and policies.
Call for support
They also call for increased funding for mental health services, citing instances where women were tragically killed by family members who needed psychiatric help. Till now, their attempts to secure assistance have been unsuccessful.
The group urges Norfolk Police to train officers on the patterns of male violence against women and girls (MVAWG). A deeper understanding of the risks would enable them more effectively to investigate violence against women. Several cases involved perpetrators with a known history of violence, emphasising the need for a comprehensive approach to safeguard potential victims.
The call extends to the judicial and probation services, challenging them to scrutinise the number of women murdered by men on bail, or probation for assaulting them or other women. NWRG believe such individuals pose a significant risk to public safety.
As a result of their own Freedom of Information request that revealed numerous unsolved rape cases at Norwich’s academic institutions, including the University of East Anglia, Norwich College and Norwich University of the Arts, the group urges them to prioritise the safety of women staff and students.
A right to protection
Despite the gravity of the situation, all of these tragedies frequently escape widespread attention, labelled as ‘isolated incidents’ by the media and police. The Norwich Women’s Rights Group says we must remember these women and girls not as mere statistics but as individuals whose lives were tragically cut short. We can and should do better to safeguard them in the future.