An Open Letter: Enough Is Enough. Women Deserve Better

*Please note that all views and opinions expressed are those of individual members.

The news this week about Sarah Everard has been horrifying. For many of us, Sarah did exactly what every young woman is told to do. She took what she thought was the safest route home - a well-lit road which was likely busy with people along her journey. She called her boyfriend. She wore bright clothing.  

This behaviour will be very familiar to every woman reading this - Sarah modified her behaviour as we all do. She modified her behaviour because women are taught from the earliest age that they are not safe. 

Every single woman you know has a story or memory about harassment and their own public safety. Whether it be taking a longer route home to avoid dark or quiet roads, getting off public transport early, pretending to listen to music through headphones to avoid someone’s attention, holding keys in our hand while travelling, faking a phone call, avoiding running or exercising in the dark, women from marginalised groups hiding their vulnerabilities to make them less of a target.

This is normality for us. It is normal to fear being catcalled, harassed or groped.

By normal, we do not mean acceptable - we grimace, express disgust and show solidarity with others in the aftermath of these violations. However, this happens so often, so frequently, we move on without any consequence or accountability. We are exhausted. We have had enough.

It is also normal to place the onus of responsibility on women. We are all socialised and taught how ‘to be safe,’ as though that will protect us. Some asked why Sarah was walking at night by herself, with one man on Twitter comparing this to leaving a car unattended with the keys in the ignition, and expecting it not to be stolen. 

Let us be clear - these comments are fuelled by victim-blaming and make every single woman want to scream in frustration. Sarah was walking home. Women should be able to travel home in 2021 without fear for their lives.

Our many experiences and stories show that no matter what we do, we cannot avoid harassment or threats to our safety, even if we spend our lives living in fear and worry. Why? Because we are not the problem. Our behaviour is not the problem.  

We need a different conversation - how to end male violence against women. 

We know that violence against women is endemic: 

  • Two women are killed every week in England by their partner or ex-partner. 
  • According to a Government report, 6 out of 10 girls in the UK have been sexually abused at school.
  • According to the 2019 Crime Survey of England and Wales, police received over 100 calls relating to domestic abuse every hour. 
  • These are the recorded calls for domestic abuse. We know that inequalities intersect and that many BAME, disabled and LGBTQIA+ women face additional discrimination and barriers to reporting domestic abuse and as a result many instances go unrecorded. 
  • BAME women are suffering a “crisis of support”- over half (51%) of BAME women say they were not sure where to turn for help during the COVID pandemic.
  • Disabled women are twice as likely to experience domestic abuse than non-disabled women and are 3.5 times more likely to experience a violent crime.
  • Stonewall research suggests that 11% of the LGBTQIA+ population have experienced domestic abuse in the last year; twice as high as the population as a whole. 
  • Despite record volumes of cases being reported to police, the prosecution rates for rape in England and Wales is at an all-time low.
  • According to a recent survey from UN Women UK, as reported by the Guardian, 97% women aged 18-24 have been sexually harassed, and 80% women across all ages said they have experience sexual harassment in public. 96% respondents did not report the incidents, with 45% saying it wouldn’t change anything.

We know that inequalities intersect and the violence and harassment marginalised groups of women face deserves greater condemnation, awareness and understanding. 

These are not unrelated facts or figures, they are evidence of systems of inequality and sexism which has pervaded our society for too long. This should absolutely sicken and enrage us all. 

Enough is enough. It is time for change. 

Women cannot continue to spend their lives in fear for their personal safety. Women should be free to exist without fear of violence. No woman should be unsafe on our streets or anywhere else, no matter the time of day.

Our male allies must listen, believe women, support our calls for change, and fight beside us in their belief that violence against women and girls is not acceptable, normal or inevitable. 

We are calling on our male allies to:

  1. Listen, believe & support women. What is clear from this week is that many men are not aware of the extent to which violence and harassment shapes women’s everyday lives. This must act as a wake-up call. Every single woman has a story. Please listen, believe her and support her calls for change. She is an expert by experience. Educate yourself on our realities and what additional discriminations BAME, disabled and LGBTQIA+ women shamefully experience.
  2. Modify your behaviour and call out misogyny when you see it amongst your friends. Please listen to women when they tell you what makes them feel unsafe. Cross the road if you are walking behind a woman in the dark. Do not overtake her. Please do not be a passive bystander when you see harassment or sexism taking place at home or in public places. Take a zero-tolerance approach. Call it out among your friends and offer women support, validation and amplify their voices. It may seem like a small incident to you, however for many women, navigating their safety is shamefully their everyday reality
  3. Vocally and publicly support these campaigns:
  4. If you are able to, financially support these organisations:

To Sarah Everard’s family and friends, we are heartbroken for you and keep you in our thoughts.


*Please note that signatures are listed in order of receipt.
  1. Emily Batchelor (Secretary - Fabian Women’s Network Executive; Vice-Chair - Young Fabians Health Network)
  2. Emma Stevenson (Blog Editor - Young Fabians Executive; Women’s & Policy Officer - Young Fabians Education Network)
  3. Morenike Adeleke (Women’s Officer - Young Fabians Executive)
  4. Cecilia Eve (Vice-Chair - Young Fabians Executive; Feminist Foreign Policy Officer - Young Fabians International Network)
  5. Amber Khan (Anticipations Editor - Young Fabians Executive)
  6. Rebekka Smiddy (Vice-Chair - Disability Advocacy Group)
  7. Carla Curtis-Tansley (Chair - Young Fabians Criminal Justice Network; Women’s Officer - Young Fabians LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Group)
  8. Amy Dwyer (Chair - Young Fabians Education Network; Chair - University of Manchester Young Fabians; Policy Officer - Young Fabians International Network)
  9. Lauren Davison (Secretary - Young Fabians Criminal Justice Network; Information & Graphics Officer - Young Fabians Disability Advocacy Group)
  10. Tina Bhartwas (Chair - East of England Young Fabians)
  11. Laura Cunliffe-Hall (Communications Officer - Young Fabians Executive; Vice-Chair - Young Fabians Communication Network)
  12. Hollie Wickens (Secretary - Young Fabians Executive)
  13. Holly Smith (Co-Chair Young Fabians LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Group; Women's Officer - Young Fabians Criminal Justice Network)
  14. Molly Hartill (Co-chair - Young Fabians Communications Network)
  15. Victoria Parrett (Social Officer - Young Fabians Executive; Vice-Chair - Young Fabians Arts & Culture Network)
  16. Maike Erb (Secretary & Policy Officer - Young Fabians Technology, Defence and Cybersecurity Network)
  17. Anna Harvey (Member - Young Fabians/Fabian Society)
  18. Cllr Kelly Grehan (Fabian Women's Network Executive Committee)
  19. Eleanor Bruce (Member - Young Fabians/Fabian Society)
  20. Louisa Metcalfe (Co-Chair - Fabian Society Economy & Finance Policy Group)
  21. Beth Walker (Women's Officer - University of Manchester Young Fabians)
  22. Laura Griffiths (Member - Young Fabians/Fabian Society)
  23. Marie Hill (Secretary - West Midlands Young Fabians; Secretary - Young Fabians Environment Network; Co-Host - Young Fabians Podcast) 
  24. Kizzy Gardiner (Member - Fabian Women's Network/Fabian Society)
  25. Cllr Marianna Masters (Member - Fabian Women's Network/Fabian Society)
  26. Deeba Syed (Member - Fabian Women's Network/Fabian Society)
  27. Cello Vashti Dutton David (Committee Member - Fabian Society International Policy Group)
  28. Robyn Arthey (Member - Young Fabians/Fabian Society)
  29. Louie Marlow (Podcast & Video Editor - Young Fabians Executive)
  30. Milo Barnett (External Affairs & Outreach Officer Young Fabians Executive)
  31. Stephen Naulls (Chair - Young Fabians Health Network)
  32. Shohaib Ali (Secretary - Young Fabians Health Network) 
  33. Luke Appleton (Member - Fabian Society)
  34. Brandon Fitz-Gerald (Vice-Chair - Young Fabians Education Network)
  35. Panny Antoniou (Co-Chair - Young Fabians International Network)
  36. John Morgan (Chair - Young Fabians Law Network)
  37. Cameron Beavan-King (Co-Chair - Young Fabians Devolution & Local Government Network; Vice-Chair - West Midlands Young Fabians)
  38. Juliette Gorb (Member - Young Fabians Education Network; Arts and Culture Network)
  39. Jack Parker (Networks Coordinator - Young Fabians Executive)
  40. Benedict Churchus (Liaison Officer - Young Fabians Technology, Defence, and Cybersecurity Network)
  41. Anna Smith (Member - Fabian Society)
  42. Jonny Winbow (Co-Chair - Young Fabians LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Group)
  43. Daniel Wood (Co-Chair - Young Fabians Arts and Culture Network)
  44. James Christopher Maxwell (Member - Fabian Society)
  45. Catherine Fookes (Member - Fabian Women's Network/Fabian Society)
  46. Tim Cheung (Social Media Officer - Young Fabians Disability Advocacy Group & LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Group; Networks Coordinator - Young Fabians Health Network) 
  47. Jane Middleton (Member - Fabian Women's Network/Fabian Society)
  48. Thomas Talbot (Campaigns Officer - Young Fabians Disability Advocacy Group)
  49. Avery M Warner (LGBTQIA+ Officer - North East Young Fabians)
  50. Thomas William Cox (Member - Fabian Society)
  51. Tamara Cincik (Member - Fabian Women's Network/Fabian Society)
  52. Chris Wongsosaputro (Co-Chair - Young Fabians Economy & Finance Network)
  53. Katharine Roddy (Mentee - Fabian Women's Network; Member - Young Fabians Education Network)
  54. Sarah Russell (Member - Fabian Women's Network/Fabian Society)
  55. Kathryn Mackridge (Member - Fabian Women's Network/Fabian Society)
  56. Heather Lafferty (Member - Young Fabians/Fabian Society)
  57. Martha Adams (Member - Fabian Society)
  58. Chandni Rajput (Officer Without Portfolio - Young Fabians Law Network)
  59. Cllr Sophie Barnett (Member - Fabian Women's Network/Fabian Society)
  60. Hunter Christian Christopher (Secretary - Young Fabians International Network)
  61. Rhiannon Jenkins (Women's Officer - Young Fabians Disability Advocacy Group)
  62. Tom Laing (Chair - Young Fabians Disability Advocacy Group)
  63. Alexander Hogg (Policy Officer - Young Fabians International Network)
  64. Hannah Fuchs (Co-Chair - Young Fabians International Network)
  65. Anita Paradzayi (Member - Young Fabians/Fabian Society)
  66. Martin Penov (International Officer - University of Manchester Young Fabians)
  67. Marcus Storm (Chair - Young Fabians Technology, Defence, and Cybersecurity Network
  68. Ellie Whitlock (Co-Engagement & Liaison Officer - Young Fabians International Network)
  69. Tom Hunter (Policy Officer - Young Fabians Education Network)
  70. Joshua Nicholson (Member- Fabian Society)
  71. Elly Sawa Coyle (Secretary - Young Fabians LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Group)
  72. Emily Tierney-Lever
  73. Dhruv Kadam (BAME Officer - Young Fabians Criminal Justice Network)
  74. Mark Whittaker (Chair - Young Fabians Executive)
  75. George William Fairhurst (Chair - Yorkshire & Humberside Young Fabians)
  76. Brandon Green
  77. Charlotte Kelly (Officer - Young Fabians Law Network)
  78. Lee Goulsbra-Miller
  79. Tom Roberts (Community Officer - North West Young Fabians)
  80. Owen Farnworth (U19's Officer - North West Young Fabians)
  81. Martin Edobor (Chair - Fabian Society)
  82. Jos Bell (Member - Fabian Women's Network/Fabian Society)
  83. Bethany Steventon-Crinks
  84. Laurence Russell (Officer - Young Fabians Technology, Defence, & Cybersecurity Network)
  85. Leon Alleyne-McLaughlin (Safeguarding Officer - Young Fabians Executive)
  86. James Bartholomeusz (Member - Young Fabians/Fabian Society)
  87. Anthony Aderogba (Observer - Young Fabians Law Network)
  88. Jack Kidston
  89. Cara McDade (Member - Young Fabians/Fabian Society)
  90. Vicky Gill (Social Media Officer - North East Young Fabians)
  91. Daniel Thomas
  92. Oliver Charlton (Co-Chair - Arts & Culture Network)
  93. George Richmond (Policy Officer - Young Fabians Environment Network)
  94. Abbie Jones
  95. Anya Sizer (Executive Member - Fabian Women's Network)
  96. Albie Mills (Chair - Young Scottish Fabians)
  97. Mumtaz Khan (Executive Member - Fabian Women's Network)
  98. Dr Rohit K Dasgupta
  99. Anita Pollack (Chair - Newham Fabians)
  100. Cllr Sara Hyde (Chair - Fabian Women's Network)
  101. Robert Lennox (Policy Officer - Young Fabians Education Network)
  102. Victoria Akintomide-Akinwamide (Executive Member - Fabian Women's Network)
  103. Alexander Wortley (Member - Fabian Society)
  104. Mike Reader (Secretary - Newham Fabians)
  105. Madeleine Lynch (Women's Officer - East of England Young Fabians)
  106. Luke MacGregor (Social Media Officer - University of Manchester Young Fabians)


If you are a Fabian member and share the views contained in this letter, please consider signing here

*Please note, additional signatures will be added to this letter on a twice-weekly basis.
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