On Saturday around 150 local people took part in a march and rally to protest and highlight the continuing disproportionate male violence against women in our streets and our homes.
Meeting as the sun set in Finsbury Park, they marched through the park where a young woman was murdered in 2017, and another was raped just a few months ago. According to campaigners, there have been 329 rapes and 868 sexual offences in Haringey over the past 12 months.
Councillor Kirsten Hearn, one of the organisers of the event, said that too many men have a sense of entitlement that it’s OK to proposition and attack women.
The call for better education for young boys was echoed by several speakers, as well as the need for more calling out of inappropriate male behaviour by males.
Green Lanes was taken over by the procession, attracting a lot of attention and support along the way from residents and passers-by. After more than an hour they arrived at Duckett’s Common, Turnpike Lane where they listened to speeches.
Local business advisor and social worker Michelle Simmons Safo spoke about the additional problems faced by black and other minorities on city streets, and the courage it takes to even report assaults to a police force which already gives them less credence. She called for a first point of contact to always be people with lived experience rather than a male police officer who too often reflects the perpetrator.
The leader of Haringey Council Peray Ahmet also supported the event, echoing the complaint that in our society too often women are victim-blamed when the issue is male violence against women.
Local Wood Green and Hornsey MP Catherine West called for solidarity with women in the US who are once again facing a battle over their right to choose, and she said we need a stronger legal framework here in the UK with the recognition of misogyny as a hate crime.
Years and years of austerity have cut social services and Kurdish councillor Makbule Güneş gave tribute to the many volunteers that help from the many ethnic communities that make up Haringey, while Catherine West described the appalling state of the justice system, savaged by cuts to CPS legal workers, leaving women waiting months for a sexual violence adviser, and even years for a court case, while their attacker remains free on bail.
This was the first event of this type for some years, and the aim was to make their presence and message felt along the route, provide a space for networking, and as a first step to a larger plan to combat the high rate of male violence against women that we continue to see in our society.
Since the murder of Sarah Everard, there have been a further 80 women killed at the hands of men in the UK.