Women in white masks remember domestic violence victims

By Beatriz Ferreira

A hundred women wearing white masks stood at the Clock Tower in Leicester last Saturday as the names of the women who have lost their lives in recent years at the hands of their partners were read out.

 

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The masked women attract attention to the issue of domestic violence

 

The Women’s Aid Leicestershire organisation held the event to mark the end of a domestic violence awareness week and to remember the 107 victims.

Sue Hills, whose daughter Alice Ruggles, 24, was murdered by an ex-partner, remembered the moment when the name of her daughter was read during the first edition of this event.

She said: “I remember this event two years ago when Alice’s name was one of those read out. 

 

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Sue Hills, centre, recalls how her daughter Alice Ruggles died at the hands of her ex-partner

 

“Her name was one of the last names on the list then. Now there are hundreds of other names after hers, hundreds of other women who have also suffered and been killed, hundreds of other families who have come face to face with the fact that domestic violence can happen to anyone.”

Sue highlighted the importance of raising awareness towards the problem.

She added: “I had thought, as so many people do, that domestic violence happened to a certain type of woman, someone who was meek and submissive, perhaps, or someone argumentative and loud, someone who I might see on a soap opera on television, but as the investigation into Alice’s murder unravelled, I began to see the links between controlling coercive behaviour and stalking.

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“Three years ago, domestic violence was not on my radar, it did not happen to people like me or to anyone that I knew, but then my beautiful daughter Alice was killed by an ex-partner after a relentless stalking campaign.”

Marea Roberts, a trustee at Women’s Aid, said: “Domestic violence is a hidden problem not only in Leicester but everywhere. 

“We never expect it to reach our family, we think of it in terms of soap operas, but it can touch any family, anywhere, any class, any culture, any religion, everywhere.”

Women’s Aid Leicestershire works closely with police and social services to support the victims of domestic violence by hiding them from danger, supplying refuges and helping them move out from a violent background.

Several survivors were present at the event which was not intended for fundraising but as a way to raise the profile of Women’s Aid .

Marea added: “If one woman walked past us this morning, and she didn’t know where to turn and she didn’t know where could help, and she heard the words of Women’s Aid, she probably went to the website and all of this was worth doing.”

For more information about Women’s Aid, visit their website www.wa-leicester.org.uk

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