To mark the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism campaign, a group of local women will come together to remember women who have been killed by men in the past year due to domestic abuse and violence.
The Counting Dead Women Vigil will take place for the third year at Smithfield Way, outside the Post Office next to West Orchards shopping centre, Coventry City Centre, from 9am to 5pm this Saturday.
There will be a display of shoes, each pair to represent and commemorate a British woman believed to have been killed by a man/men over the previous year. Each woman’s name will be read out on the hour every hour. Survivors of male violence have been invited to attend, as well as guest speakers, poetry and music performer, Nehanda, public figures and women’s organisations.
This vigil event will build on the success of previous years held in Shelton Square and gives exposure to the devastation of domestic abuse and the fact the 2 women are killed by a man every week in the UK. Data on the women comes from the Femicide Census.
Local councillors and service providers including Coventry Haven Women’s Aid, Kairos Women Working Together, and the women’s service at Change Grow Live (CGL), will also be taking part and will be making short speeches throughout the day.
Cllr Pervez Akhtar, Deputy Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities, said: “The shocking prevalence of male violence against women has been brought into sharp focus across the country recently and the current cost of living crisis is expected to have an unprecedented impact on domestic abuse victims. Coventry City Council is proud to take a stance to end male violence against women and girls and to support the victims of these crimes. There is an excellent partnership approach within the city committed to tackling the violence against women and girls agenda and the Council is proud to support this vigil to remember the women who have been killed by men in the past year.
“If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, then please remember that you are not alone and that support is available at www.safetotalk.org.uk or the telephone helpline 0800 111 4998 between 8.30am – 5pm Monday – Friday and 10am – 1pm Saturday – Sunday. Alternatively, the National Domestic Abuse helpline is available 24/7 on 0808 2000 247.”
Tracey Cownden is the organiser and was the inspiration behind the vigil, she said: “This is our third vigil in Coventry that coincides with the international day for ending Male violence against women and girls. Data shows that 1 woman is killed every 3 days by a man in the UK – These are mothers, sisters and daughters.
“In most cases, the public hardly takes notice of these women. It was only when I volunteered for Coventry Haven in 2019 that I became aware of the ultimate consequence of domestic abuse and of women being killed by their partners, ex-partners and sons. I vividly remember following the news about the effects of the pandemic on women that lived in abusive relationships and that in the first week of lockdown, 10 women (and two children) were killed by men in the UK.
“We want to publicly commemorate each woman 1 of the 110 plus women killed this year by saying their names on the hour every hour and we will continue to take a stance to end male violence against women and girls.”
The shoes will be donated to local women’s organisations following the vigil.
If you wish to pay your respects or find out more about domestic abuse, how to recognise the signs, or what to do if you or someone you know may be going through it, everyone is welcome to come along and speak to the city’s domestic abuse providers.
For more information about the vigil please visit the Facebook page.
A reminder that the Safe to Talk website is a great resource that enables easy access to help and support either members of the public or professionals who may wish to refer individuals.