Just days after 8th March, and the sexism and misogyny that define our society has shown itself in the most extreme of cases. The murder of Sarah Everard has sickened the country, and the talk that is dominating the streets, social media and mainstream media has shifted to the focus on the everyday violence against women.
By Women’s committee – International Socialist League
The murder of Sarah Everard is the realisation of what all women fear. Sarah was walking home when she was attacked, kidnapped and later killed. A society where women have lost the right to be able to walk the street is a sick society.
But this is no isolated case of misogynistic violence, this is the eventual result of the normalisation of everyday violence against women. This is the eventual conclusion to a society that is ingrained with misogyny.
The following statistics show the sickening state of the situation in the UK.
● 97% of all women ages 18-24 and 80% of all women in the UK have been victims of sexual abuse on the street
● 1,425 women and girls have been killed in the UK between 2009-18
● 1 in 3 women in the UK experience domestic abuse
● 2 women a week in the UK are killed by former or current partners
● Each year, more than 500,000 women are raped in the UK
All the while, the government continues to cut funding to necessary public services directed to women, and the police continue to treat violence against women as secondary. The case of Sarah Everard has shown this in the clearest light. In February, complaints of indecent exposure (a form of sexual violence) by the suspected murderer of Sarah were made to the police, only to be ignored. As always, while violence against women is ignored, it will only ever escalate, as this did in a rapid manner. The fact is, if the police had acted on the initial complaints, Sarah would be alive today. Why they didn’t is a demonstration of the systemic misogyny in the police.
● Just 1.4% of reported rapes result in a conviction
● Rape Convictions are at an all-time low
● 50% of specialist refuges have closed in the last 10 years
The political establishment like to pretend we are living in a progressive and equal society. They like to pretend that issues such as misogyny are of the past and that anything that shows the contrary is an isolated incident. They also like to pretend that the statistics that show ever-increasing figures of sexual abuse and domestic violence are a result of more people “speaking out”. This is all untrue. All the evidence, both statistical and anecdotal, shows a society that is increasingly hostile for women. One statistic shows this more than any.
● In the year ending 2019, there was a year on year increase of 10% in the number of women killed.
All of this shows that what happened to Sarah Everard is the culmination of societies violence against women, and the acceptance of that violence. This violence is a result of a society that is built upon the division of class and oppression for the aim of increasing exploitation. If we truly want to Reclaim Our Streets, then violence against women, in all its forms, must be repudiated by all sections of the working class. And ultimately, to truly Reclaim Our Streets, we must end all forms of oppression, and for that, we must destroy capitalism.
To add insult to oppression
We condemn the oppression of the Vigil held in memory of Sarah Everard and in protest to violence against all women.
Unfortunately, the attacks by the police on peaceful demonstrators came as no surprise. And it only demonstrates further that the institution of the police and the whole legal system is not allied with women in the fight against sexist violence, quite the opposite.
Priti Patel came out and said, “they must explain their actions”. However, Priti Patel is equally complicit in the oppression. She is behind a current move to criminalise all forms of protest that cause “nuisance”, which is, in essence, a way for this government to criminalise all forms of protest in preparation for the next years of austerity measures.
The Government is using the pandemic to try and legitimise all forms of protests, as recent examples can be seen with arrests and fines for nurses protesting.
The attacks against women by the police are all part of a wider attack on all the working class.
We call on all sections of the working class to condemn the attacks and call for the immediate resignation of MET Commissioner Cressida Dick and Assistant Commissioner, as well as Home Office Secretary Priti Patel.