My deepest condolences to the friends and family of Sarah Everard.
Women should be able to walk home at night – and live their lives at all times – without fear of violence, intimidation and misogynistic abuse. The fact I have to make that statement, here in the second decade of the twenty first century, is a damning indictment of our society.
The stories women have been sharing on social media and other platforms in recent days are not only harrowing but also reveal how deeply misogyny is ingrained in our society.
As men we can and should be aware individually of our role in making women feel safe and supported. But that alone is not enough. We also need to recognise the need for structural change.
As such I will be supporting Amendment 87B to the Domestic Violence Bill on Monday. This seeks to make misogyny a hate crime, and will compel police to properly record incidences of violence against women. Thank you to the many constituents who have been in touch with me about this important amendment.
We must also remember that this fight is intersectional. We need to show solidarity with all women, including women of colour and migrants who face the appalling double whammy of misogyny and racism. Solidarity must be universal or it isn’t solidarity at all.
I am aware that a #ReclaimTheStreets event has been organised to take place in Norwich tomorrow, at 5pm outside City Hall. As this is a peaceful, socially-distanced demonstration I fully support it going ahead. However I know they are awaiting the result of the High Court hearing concerning the London #ReclaimTheStreets before going ahead with an in-person protest, and understandably may opt to move online instead. I will follow developments closely and post any updates here. Now is the time to take a stand and give women, non-binary people and other marginalised groups the space to protest. A fundamental right this government is currently in the process of threatening.