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Call to ‘do more to tackle violence against women’ as Sarah Everard honoured

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Campaigners have called for more to be done to tackle violence against women as an online vigil was held in memory of Sarah Everard

A minute’s silence was held and candles were lit during the virtual event, after planned vigils across the UK were cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions.

Despite the cancellation of an event in Clapham, south London, near to where Ms Everard disappeared, hundreds of people still gathered on Clapham Common at around 6pm on Saturday.

Opening the online event, hosted by Feminists of London, television presenter Sandi Toksvig said Ms Everard’s death should be a “turning point”.

“Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Never have I felt more passionately concerned about my kids,” she said.

“It surely cannot be asking too much to want them simply to be free, to walk where they like, when they like.

“I am filled in equal measure with profound sorrow and rage, and I know there are many who share this rage and I think it is entirely justifiable. But I also know that it will harm rather than help us if we don’t try and direct that anger to good purpose.”

She added that it was not a “small change” that was needed, but a “cultural shift about how women are viewed and treated both in the public and private space”.

“This has to be a turning point where ending violence finally becomes a political priority,” she said.

POLICE Everard Timeline / PA Graphics

Mandu Reid, the leader of the Women’s Equality Party, echoed these sentiments, adding: “The way to truly honour Sarah and every other woman we’ve lost is to demand that politicians of all stripes treat violence against women and girls as a political and policing priority.”

She said: “The pain and poignancy of this moment lies in the devastating fact that all women and every girl lives under the perpetual threat that what happened to Sarah could happen to any one of us.

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