CW: Gender-based violence
"We, as an Officer Team, wanted to try to articulate some of our thoughts on the past week. We didn’t know Sarah Everard. We are acutely aware that she was a person with people around her who are grieving the loss of a daughter, a sister, and a friend. We are also very aware that we don’t want to use her name as a political tool without her consent - she didn't ask to become the face and martyr for gendered violence.
We are however finding it difficult to separate our grief from our politics. It is difficult for us to separate from knowing that gendered violence is systemic - it's a part of our society and permeates everything including the police. Since the 1970s, almost 200 women have died at the hands of the police and prison system in England and Wales . Between 2012 and 2018, more than 500 Metropolitan Police Officers were accused of sexual assault but only 43 have faced disciplinary proceedings . Between 2015 and 2018 in England and Wales, fewer than 3.9% of domestic violence allegations against police officers ended in convictions compared with 6.2% of allegations in the general population . It was Met Officers that took pictures of the bodies of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry after they were brutally murdered . It was the police that brutalised women at Clapham Common as they came to grieve the murder of another woman by gendered violence.
We as a team of seven women, spanning race, sexuality and class, stand in solidarity with the women protesting gendered, patriarchal and state violence. We stand in solidarity with sex workers, trans women and gender non-conforming folks who are twice as likely to be the victims of gendered violence. We stand in solidarity with Sisters Uncut who have been organising and in the streets fighting for all women. We want to see the end of the patriarchal society and we have listed some intersectional organisations fighting against gendered violence, support groups for survivors and resources for education."
In solidarity always,
Your Officer Team
Dorothy Chirwa, Charlotte Boulton, Hannah Finney, Benthe Tanghe,
Ella Williams, Sian Dickie, & Nadia Ahmed
Activism Groups: There are some great activist and organising groups who have been involved in direct action to get justice for women and marginalised groups affected by gendered violence. We hope you find a group that resonates with you if you want to join the fight - here are a few groups we admire who have been directly involved with fighting for justice for Sarah Everard.
Sisters Uncut @sistersuncut
Sistah Space @sistahspace_
Abolitionist Futures @abolitionistfutures
United Families & Friends Campaign @uffcampaign
All Black Lives UK @allblacklivesuk
LGS Migrants @lgsmigrants
Black Lives Matter UK @blmuk
Women Strike Assembly @womenstrike.uk
Good Night Out Campaign @goodnightoutcampaign
Activist Reading: For some, the reality of police violence and gendered violence has been realised through the conversations and events of the past week. Many authors and activists have been writing about these issues for years and there are lots of insightful resources to access now to learn more about gendered violence, feminism and intersectionality. These are just a handful of activist readings we recommend to begin or develop your learning.
Feminism Interrupted - Lola Olufuemi
Know My Name - Chanel Miller
Bad Feminist - Roxane Gay
Are Prisons Obsolete - Angela Davis
If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance – Angela Davis
Feminism Is For Everybody – Bell Hooks
The End of Policing - Alex S. Vitale
Abolishing Carceral Society - Abolition Collective
The recent events may be causing you distress, reminding you of past traumas or feel overwhelming. It is important to take care of yourself, reach out to others for support and not deal with these feelings alone. Here are a few supportive resources to access, including peer support and professional resources.
It Happens Here, Newcastle - peer support and solidarity
Newcastle University Feminist Society - peer support and solidarity
Student Health and Wellbeing Services - counselling and mental health resources
NUSU Student Advice Centre - personal advice and specialised services referrals
Nightline - peer support 24/7 messaging service
The Angelou Centre - www.angelou-centre.org.uk
AVA Project (Against Violence & Abuse) - www.avaproject.org.uk
Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland - www.rctn.org.uk
Refuge Against Domestic Violence - www.refuge.org.uk
Newcastle Women’s Aid - www.newcastlewomensaid.org.uk