Victoria Tower Gardens in Westminster was, this week, transformed with a powerful installation of over 100 protest placards, each one representing a woman killed by a man within the last 12 months.
Killed Women campaign
In the UK, a woman is killed by a man every three days. Killed Women, a campaign organisation and network for bereaved families, exists to change the perception that these deaths and injustices are unavoidable tragedies to be expected and accepted.
‘The Final Protest’, staged by Killed Women and integrated marketing agency Wunderman Thompson UK, aligns with the launch of a new report ‘You Were Told: A Voice for Killed Women’ that has found that the vast majority of murders and manslaughters of women by men were preventable.
The report is the first national survey of the bereaved families of women killed by men, finding that two thirds of family members said that the killer had a prior history of violence or abuse, with 78% of respondents who said that there was a history of abuse towards the victim reporting that at least one service knew about the abuse prior to the killing.
Moreover, the missed opportunities to prevent the killing of their loved ones was just one of a litany of failures revealed in the survey.
The report outlines numerous recommendations for Government to consider helping bring justice to the families of the women killed and make the UK a safer place for our daughters, sisters, mothers and loved ones.
Wunderman Thompson’s involvement in the campaign came after learning the sister of a colleague was killed by her boyfriend in 2018.
Poppy Devey Waterhouse was only 24 years old when she was killed after she ended the relationship. Her killer was sentenced to life in prison but will be eligible for parole after 16 years.
‘The Final Protest’ is a protest with a difference. The only attendees are women who’ve been killed by men this year. The placards – all 108 of them – feature a message from the women, written by their families, to give them back the voice.
Among the messages are: ‘Am I now just ‘another killed woman?’, ‘There is no justice’ and ‘He stabbed me 23 times, my family feel every one’.
The aim is to encourage people to share the report with their MPs, with the longer-term goal of better protecting all women from extreme forms of violence, as well as ensuring justice for those whose lives are lost and improving the rights of the families left behind, especially children.
This week’s silent but powerful protest was followed by a march from Victoria Tower Gardens to Parliament Square, with many families and friends of the victims involved.
‘The Final Protest’ will also be supported by social activity, both organic and influencer, across the rest of the week, encouraging viewers to read the report and email their MP.
Anna Ryder, Director of Killed Women, said: “For the first time, this survey has allowed us to paint a more comprehensive picture of the experiences of bereaved families and the failings that led to their loved ones’ deaths. That picture is bleak.
“The statistics of this report, and the devastating testimony given by the families, demand an urgent response from those who hold the power to save women’s lives.
“The Final Protest shines a light on these issues in a way that can’t be ignored. Nothing can bring these women back but, using their voices, we can push for policy and action that focuses on prevention and intervention to stop these terrible crimes from happening, and a justice system that responds with absolute intolerance when they do.”
Zebedee Devey Waterhouse, creative at Wunderman Thompson and brother of Poppy Devey Waterhouse, said: “It’s been empowering to be able to harness the talent and kindness of the people I work with and use it to further a cause so close to my heart.
“At school, my sister Poppy was voted by her classmates as ‘the most likely to change the world’. Since she was killed, my family and I have taken on the mantle through our work with Killed Women.
“I feel very lucky to work with people who are helping us to honour her memory and drive positive change.”
If you’d like to support the cause and act as a voice for Killed Women, visit www.killedwomen.org/thereport to read the report and share with your local MP.