Published: Tuesday, 16th March 2021
The Royal Borough of Greenwich stands in solidarity with the survivors of male violence and we're committed to making sure that our community is a safe place for all women.
Over the past few weeks, we have seen an outpouring of pain, sadness and anger from countless women and people of marginalised genders, bravely sharing their experiences of harassment, abuse and violence at the hands of men.
That’s why we’re organising a virtual event on Friday 19 March at 12 noon, alongside a digital survey, to hear from local women about their experiences and safety concerns in the borough. We want to find the gaps in our services, what more we can do as a local authority to make people safer, and how we can play our part in facilitating meaningful change. We will also be lighting up The Woolwich Centre and Town Hall on Wednesday this week, in solidarity with women and survivors of male violence.
We know that reliving experiences of violence, harassment and abuse can be traumatic, but sharing your stories can help us improve our services and support systems.
Leading the session on Friday will be Cllr Jackie Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Enforcement, and Cllr Denise Scott-McDonald, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills. They will be joined by Detective Inspector Nina Ahmed, and representatives from the Her Centre, a small local charity which provides services to women and girls who've experienced domestic and sexual abuse in Royal Greenwich and Lewisham.
Cllr Jackie Smith said, “Violence against women and girls will only end if we address the men perpetrating abuse. This means challenging the social norms that allow gender-based violence to continue and changing the narrative around the way we talk about the abuse and harassment of women. Too long has this been framed as a women’s issue: the problem and the solution lies with men.”
Cllr Denise Scott-McDonald said, “Sarah Everard, Bibaa Henry, Nicole Smallman. Every woman lives with the knowledge that what happened to these women could so easily happen to any of us. Whether walking home from a friend’s house or celebrating your birthday in a park with your sister, women should not have to live in fear of being attacked by men. No one should feel unsafe anywhere in our borough either.”
Women are repeatedly expected to change their own behaviour to reduce personal risk, shifting responsibility away from the decisions and actions of men; this is unacceptable. Together, we need to stop asking “What clothes were they wearing?”; “Why were they walking alone at night?” and start asking, “Why do some men attack women?”