Calls for black women's voices to also be heard in light of Sarah Everard death
- Credit: Andy Commons
A Hackney domestic violence charity has spoken out about women's safety, calling for all women's voices to be heard in the wake of Sarah Everard's death.
“We keep asking the same questions over and over again: can you see us? Can you hear us? Are we that invisible to you?” asks Ivy McCarthy, the senior admin officer of Sistah Space.
Sistah Space is a Hackney non-profit organisation providing domestic abuse services for African heritage women and girls. It is the only entirely black organisation providing such services in London.
Like the rest of the nation, the women of Sistah Space were shocked and saddened to learn of Sarah Everard’s death, a 33-year-old woman who disappeared in South London on March third and whose body was found in a Kent woodland on March 12.
But they were also disheartened to see that, in the response, black voices were not heard.
Ngozi Fulani, CEO of Sistah Space said: “What we found was not a rally for all women; it seemed that women of colour were not considered.
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"All of the media interviewed white women, parliament and the government made reference to women, but again, we were not visible, and our voices were not heard.
“This notion of gender equality is a necessary one. But we’re not all coming from the same place. How can people expect that we can join together as sisters fighting injustice, when our injustice started 400 years ago?”
Despite ONS figures showing adults of Black and mixed ethnicity are more likely to experience sexual assault, McCarthy highlighted that black women are generally less inclined to report abuse as many feel they are less likely to be believed or more likely to be questioned on their experiences.
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This is why, she says, having a designated space to support survivors of domestic abuse from African and Caribbean backgrounds is so important.
“We know ourselves best. We understand ourselves – both in terms of the culture we come from and how difficult things have been for us," Ivy added.
The services provided by Sistah Space became even more essential during lockdown, when the number of women relying on them increased dramatically.
“Lockdown rocketed everything sky high. Women were stuck indoors with their perpetrators and couldn’t go anywhere.” McCarthy said.
Learn more at www.sistahspace.org