Councillors and Mayor respond to the tragic murder of Sarah Everard

Responding to the tragic murder of Sarah Everard, Deputy Mayor Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Cllr Sade Etti, Mayoral Advisor for Homelessness, Housing Needs and Rough Sleeping, said:

“The news of Sarah Everard’s murder has shocked our nation, and our heartfelt condolences go out to her family, friends and loved ones.

“We stand united in solidarity with Sarah and every single woman who has been affected by violence and harassment. Over the past week, unfortunately countless women have been sharing their lived experiences of the harassment and attacks they have faced as women going about their everyday lives. These stories resonate with every one of us because we can relate to them, and sadly, we are also all too familiar with the suggestions that we take further steps to protect ourselves.

“Time and time again, the collective responsibility for attackers’ behaviour is placed on women - and we are tired of having to defend our fundamental right to go about our daily lives without fear, harassment or attack. We are told to take a range of precautions, which we’re already taking as they have been ingrained in us from as young as we can remember - such as pretending to be on the phone, taking one headphone out and using well-lit routes - and yet we are still not safe. And we will not be safe until society collectively tackles the damaging culture of victim-blaming and puts the onus on our attackers and harassers.

“Every woman in your life will have their own story - or stories - of fear, harassment and attack, and many of them will have questioned their actions because that is what we have been taught to do from a young age. Women are never to blame, and comments suggesting this are shameful and unacceptable.

“As a Council, we are committed to change. Our #ReframeTheNight campaign, which was created in partnership with Good Night Out who work to tackle sexual harassment in night time spaces, challenged the myths and perceptions that lead to victim-blaming. Hackney’s late night venues have received training from Good Night Out to help them identify, prevent and address sexual harassment on their premises, as part of this campaign. But we know that these deeply pervasive attitudes will not die out overnight, and that we must all work together as a society to challenge them wherever they occur.

“On Saturday at 6pm a vigil, called Reclaim These Streets, had been organised to remember Sarah, and to demand safety on the streets for women.

“We throw our wholehearted support behind the messages of the vigil. However, we cannot support any mass gatherings, even at social distance, given the very real risk to public health. And while it is up to the police to take any steps regarding the vigil, we would strongly urge residents to show their support virtually.

“You can be a part of the vigil safely by sharing a message of solidarity using these hashtags: #SarahEverard #ReframeTheNight #ReclaimTheseStreets.

“We will be sharing our video of support at 6pm on Saturday, and we hope that you will join us in showing solidarity with Sarah and women in Hackney and across the UK. Please be careful to protect your privacy if sharing a doorstep video. Together, we can work to create a world where women are able to walk freely at any time of the day or night without fear, harassment or attack.”

Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville added: 

“It’s an uncomfortable reality to realise that every woman we know looks at this horrific incident and recognises that it could have been them. The harassment and violence that women face whilst going about their daily lives is shameful and unacceptable, and all men have a collective responsibility to stand with women, to stand up for them and to stand against the damaging culture of victim-blaming which has all too often shaped the debate and even safety advice from statutory agencies such as the police.

“As men, we cannot assume that we know what women across Hackney and the UK need us to do to help, but we can ask them,listen to them and stand with them. By doing this, we can take action to drive real change and ensure that our female relatives, friends, colleagues and loved ones can go about their daily lives without fear or risk of violence or harassment.”

If you, or someone that you know, has been affected by sexual harassment or abuse there is support available in Hackney or an area convenient for you:

  • if an incident has occurred, you can call 999 or 101 to speak to the police. 
  • you can also contact Victim Support, who offer free, confidential advice for those who have been affected by sexual harassment – you can call their free helpline on 0808 1689 111.

Free, downloadable resources that tackle myths and attitudes about night time sexual harassment are available for everyone’s use.