A candleLIT vigil was held outside Romford Police station on Tuesday December 4, to acknowledge and pay respects to all the women who have been murdered or affected by male physical or sexual violence and abuse.
Women from the Nia- Huggett Women’s Centre, based in the Heathway in Dagenham, stood outside the police station on a gloomy night with their candles shining brightly in the dark, in honour of all the women who have been affected by male violence.
So far this year, 127 women have been killed by male violence and in Barking and Dagenham particularly, four women have been murdered/killed this year.
There is an unprecedented demand for the service to support women and girls who have been raped or sexually assaulted.
Over 200 women and girls are on their waiting list for counselling in the east London area, and over 120 women are waiting for advocates.
Maria Sookias, Head of Operations at Huggett Women’s Centre said: “Women and girls are under attack, at a time when the police and criminal justice system are facing cuts and reports of abuse are rising. Thank you to everyone who joined us to show their support for women and girls who have experienced violence and abuse and to commemorate those who are no longer with us.”
Annetha from the Women’s Involvement Group at Huggett said: “All forms of male-violence is unacceptable and this has to be addressed as a problem of epidemic proportions.
“We urgently need to promote awareness and find more easily accessible safe spaces. Society has a responsibility to be kind and care for one another.
“ What will you do to bring an end to the fear, the violence, the abuse and the unavoidable deaths of women and children?”
Vanessa from the women’s centre added: “The Huggett Women’s Centre has empowered and strengthened my resolve. With their help and support I now have the knowledge and understanding of violence against women.
“I have been able to transition from victim to service user, survivor to volunteer. I am now a powerful women who can embrace life, love and support other women through their journey.”
The Huggett Women’s Centre is run by a partnership of voluntary sector organisations working with the council funded by the Big Lottery.
Nia’s aim is to create a haven, offering services to all women and girls from every borough in London. The accessible venue will run a community café, play area for mothers and their children, workshops, group work, counselling, and a host
of other special events offered free of charge to women and girls who use the centre.