Trafford Rape Crisis volunteers joined this year’s Dead Women Walking March in central Manchester to raise awareness of women killed as a result of domestic violence.
A report released by the UN on gender-related killing determined that the home is the most dangerous place for women, with 58% of women killed in the last year at the hands of partners or family members. The findings, published on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, show there is no sign of a fall in the number of killings. An estimated 137 women are killed by family every day globally.
The Dead Women Walking March, originally held for the first time in London in 2014, is designed to remember victims and raise awareness of the scale and impact of domestic abuse.
Organised by Claire Moore, co-founder of Certain Curtain Theatre Company, the March sees walkers silently take to the streets wearing red ponchos, as the names and circumstances of women killed in the previous twelve months are read out. The March ends with a gathering of the walkers taking a moment to remember victims. This year, family members carried photos of daughters, sisters and friends, lost due to domestic violence murder.
TRC volunteer Becki spoke about the impact of the March.
“It’s an emotional and even difficult experience, walking in silent tribute as those names are read out. But when you see people stop to listen or look at the photos of women lost due to domestic violence murder, there’s some solace in knowing we’re not letting those women be forgotten.
“We shocked some onlookers, a red line with a dark message.”
The March not only gives a voice to silenced women, but is designed to challenge onlookers to confront the realities of domestic violence. Speaking with aah! Magazine, Claire Moore explains:
“Women are routinely blamed for the violence and abuse we experience. We need to be reaching the general public and constantly challenging these things.”
“It’s important that we focus on a victim’s story and try to move past the age-old question: ‘Why doesn’t she just leave?’ Instead we want to ask – Why doesn’t he just stop?”
“Domestic violence and marital rape are still under the radar in terms of understanding,” she added.
Members of Trafford Rape Crisis have attended the March for a number of years, lending support to the cause and striving to raise awareness – as well as challenge the injustice and inequality of violence facing women. Studies suggest a woman is killed every 3 days and 1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Many campaigners suspect the real figures may even be higher, due to the reluctance of victims to come forward or report abuse.
If you, or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and you’d like to talk to someone, the 24hr freephone National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge) is available on 0808 2000 247 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also speak confidentially to one of our volunteers on our helpline, open Tues & Thurs 6 – 9pm, and Sunday 3 – 6pm on 0800 783 4608.