Ilford MPs say death of Sarah Everard must be wake-up call
- Credit: Metropolitan Police
The death of Sarah Everard must be a watershed moment in tackling violence against women, say Ilford MPs.
Speaking on Friday, March 12 - when it was confirmed that the remains identified in Ashford belong to Sarah - both Wes Streeting and Sam Tarry have called for this to be a true catalyst for change.
The death of the 33-year-old - who disappeared on March 3 while walking home in Clapham - has prompted huge public outcry, provoking a wider discussion over what needs to be done to ensure women's safety.
Both MPs are clear: the onus is not on women to take excessive measures to ensure their own safety, but on society to address the drivers which jeopardise it.
Mr Streeting, MP for Ilford North, said: "I want to extend my deepest condolences to Sarah Everard's family and friends. My heart goes out to them at this extremely difficult and distressing time.
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"While this has come as a terrible shock to all of us, the sad truth is that violence against women and girls remains all too common in our society.
"It is well beyond time that we confronted the scale of the problem and, instead of expecting women to modify their behaviour, put the focus back squarely on those misogynists and abusers who continue to commit vile acts.”
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Labour colleague Mr Tarry, Ilford South MP, echoed these sentiments, lamenting that Sarah's name will now be added to the 118 women and girls who have been killed in the UK this year alone (whose names were read out in Parliament on March 11).
Countless women have shared their stories in recent days, each painting a picture of an ongoing fear of violence. These have proven "eye-opening" for many men, including Mr Tarry.
He said: "That threat doesn’t come out of nowhere; it’s manifested in our everyday life, and this must be a wake-up call to ensure that, at every opportunity, we challenge troubling language and behaviour towards women to help them - wherever they are - feel safe to walk our streets.
“We can all play our part and, as a father to two young boys, it’s my responsibility to educate them about the importance of listening to, and respecting, everyone."
Society's role in tackling this issue must be matched by "more money and resources", Mr Tarry concluded.