We, at Rights of Women, extend our deepest condolences to the family of Sarah Everard following the devastating news today that her death has been confirmed. We cannot imagine the pain of her loss to those who loved her and we are heartbroken by the news.

We are mindful of the history of institutional failures that have denied victims, and their families, justice. It is critical that the current investigation meets the highest standards of accountability, to deliver justice for Sarah and the full truth for her family. This is of critical importance as the investigation has involved the arrest of a serving police officer. We, alongside countless others, will be keeping a watchful eye on developments to ensure Sarah’s grieving family can have faith in the process.

Male violence against women and girls is an endemic crisis. Whilst there is a stronger media and public focus on its prevalence surrounding International Women’s Day, it is prevalent all year round. We stand in solidarity with all the women who have, and continue, to participate in the outpouring of their personal experiences of abuse and living with the continual threat of harassment and violence from men. We join our voice with yours and share your demands for equality, safety and justice.

It is intolerable that in 2021 we as women are still forced to adapt our lives to try and ensure our safety, and that this is seen by many as an acceptable solution to male violence. There must be an end to the culture of victim-blaming – when the victim is blamed for the actions of the perpetrator – it is reprehensible and has no place in a society built on fairness and equality. It is the responsibility of government, and of all our society, to hear the voices of women, take action to address these injustices and challenge the culture that puts us at risk in the first place.