Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Still from This Is Not Love.

Online events put spotlight on violence against women

In the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard, two events will be held this weekend focusing on the issue of violence against women: a launch of a video on domestic violence by Women’s Voice and an online vigil in memory of Sarah Everard and Blessing Olusegun. Nick Terdre reports.

Women’s Voice have produced a video on domestic violence and coercive behaviour which will be launched on Isolation Station at 6pm on Friday 19. Entitled This Is Not Love, it comprises testimonies from seven local women who have suffered, and escaped from, such situations.

“Domestic abuse and coercive control are among the most urgent issues facing women,” Women’s Voice says. “Incidence is high in Hastings and St Leonards, made worse by lockdown, which has trapped women in their homes, in abusive relationships.”

The video has its origins pre-Covid when the group was approached by a local woman wishing to share her story of surviving an abusive relationship in order to help other women and provide some guidance or warnings for younger women.

Assuring complete anonymity, Women’s Voice invited other local women to send in their experiences. It was decided that professional actors would read the testimonies – a call-out for actors received a huge response. With lockdown by then in place, those selected filmed themselves in their own homes, the ensuing tapes then turned into a film by a local professional editor.

Running time is about 40 minutes. The viewing will be followed by a small panel discussion.

The group welcomes ideas on how the video can best be used. “It can be viewed as a standalone but Women’s Voice feels it should also be used not just to highlight the realities of domestic abuse but also for discussion and to develop strategies to combat violence against women and to lobby for improved support services and resources,” they say.

For more information contact Women’s Voice at or by phone: Ann at 07904777476.

Online vigil

On Saturday at 6.30pm an online vigil, Reclaim These Streets, will be held in memory of Sarah Everard and Blessing Olusegun, a 21-year-old black women whose body was found on the beach in Bexhill-on-Sea in September.

Blessing’s death is less well known than Sarah’s though it has been in the news recently. A post-mortem indicated earlier this month that she had died from drowning and the police concluded that her death was unexplained but not suspicious. Campaigners have protested that, perhaps because of her ethnicity, the police investigation did not dig hard enough and have called for further inquiries, and more than 48,000 have signed two petitions of protest.

Rosa Torr, who has organised the event, says, “Members of the public are welcome to join us at this time and to bring a candle.

“In light of recent events we will come together as a community to express our hurt, grieve our losses, and demand safety for all women everywhere, to bring an end to gender based violence.”

There will be speakers with experience of sexual violence and harassment, including from Women’s Voice, and readings from artists and women’s rights organisations.

“Please remember it is primarily a women’s event, but without the support of men we will not achieve the change that is so essential,” says Rosa.

“For clarification, by women we mean ALL women! Which of course includes transwomen.”

Reclaim These Streets can be attended here.


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Posted 17:00 Thursday, Mar 18, 2021 In: Campaigns

1 Comment

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  1. Penny

    Here are some free aids for people affected by domestic abuse:-
    “The Survivors’ Handbook”
    “Expect Respect: Education Toolkit” for educationalists covering all school-age groups
    “The Hideout” for children and young people
    “Respect” for perpetrators
    “Responding to Domestic Abuse: A Handbook for Professionals” produced by NHS.
    National Centre for Domestic Violence 0800 970 2070 for help getting injunctions
    Refuge 0808 2000 247

    Comment by Penny — Monday, Mar 22, 2021 @ 09:03

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