Politicians listened in silence this afternoon as MP Jess Phillips listed the 118 women who were murdered by men in 2020.
Phillips has read out the names of victims every year since 2015 as part of the annual debate to mark International Women’s Day. Today, March 11, she spent four minutes reading out the harrowingly-long list.
Typically there’s a three-minute limit on debates, but this was lifted so Phillips could read out all 118 names.
Speaking in the Commons, Phillips said, as per the Evening Standard:
In this place, we count what we care about. We count the vaccines done, the number of people on benefits, we rule or oppose based on a count and we obsessively track that data. We love to count data of our own popularity. However, we don’t currently count dead women.
No government study is done into the patterns every year of the data of victims of domestic abuse who are killed, die by suicide or die suddenly. Dead women is a thing we’ve all just accepted as part of our daily lives. Dead women is just one of those things. Killed women are not vanishingly rare. Killed women are common.
She continued, ‘Dead women do count, and thanks to the brilliant work of Karen Ingala Smith and the Counting Dead Women project, and the academics and charities working on the Femicide Census, these women’s lives and the scale of male violence against women can be known.’
The reading of the list also comes after a male serving officer in the Metropolitan Police was arrested on suspicion of the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard yesterday, March 10. The 33-year-old woman was last seen in Clapham, London, last week.
It was also confirmed yesterday that human remains had been found in a woodland near Ashford, Kent. They are yet to be identified.
Addressing Sarah’s disappearance, Phillips said, ‘Her name rings out across all of our media. We have all prayed that the name of Sarah Everard would never be on any list. Let’s pray every day and work every day to make sure nobody’s name ends up on this list again.’
In the wake of International Women’s Day on Monday, statistics were released that showed that 97% of young women aged 18 to 24 in Britain had been sexually harassed in some way. Meanwhile, 80% of women of all ages said they had been harassed in public spaces.
How many more Sarah Everard cases do there need to be before something is properly done to protect women?
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas.