The Bishop of London says more should be done to end violence against women and girls. Speaking at a service at St Paul's Cathedral for females whose lives have been cut short by violence, Rt Rev Dame Sarah Mullally said :
“The system is failing women and girls, and has been for far too long. A woman is killed every three days by a man in the UK - a figure which should shame us all. Change is long overdue, and it is incumbent upon us all to ensure that women and girls can live without fear of violence and abuse. Three years on from the murder of Nicole and Bibaa, it’s time to put an end to violence against women and girls.“
The memorial service was held on Sunday, three years on from the deaths of sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, who were murdered in London in June 2020.
Families of those who have lost loved ones to violence came together to pay tribute to their lives and call for justice and change.
The sisters’ mother Mina Smallman, who is a retired priest and who was the first female archdeacon of colour in the Church of England, conceived ‘It’s Time’ as an opportunity to honour the lives of Nicole and Bibaa and the lives of all women and girls who have been victims of male violence. The service, held in collaboration with St Paul’s Cathedral and the Mayor of London, brought together those from across religious communities, charities, bereaved families and politics.
The Bishop of Dover, Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan were among other contributors to the service.
Emeritus the Venerable Mina Smallman said:
“This service has been conceived to give families who have been through the most horrific of experiences the opportunity to celebrate the lives of those they've lost and join together to call for an end to this epidemic of violence against women and girls.
"We need to put women and girls' safety at the top of our society's agenda, recognising that those of colour are at greater risk of violence and abuse. Over the past three years I have spoken to charities and organisations who have been fighting for years to end violence against women and girls across the UK. The work of these organisations has given me real hope and I hope this service will raise awareness of their imperative work."
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman were vibrant and wonderful women.
“As with Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa, Zara Aleena and too many others, we have learned the sisters’ names because of the appalling ways in which they died rather than the remarkable lives they lived.
“There is an epidemic of violence against women and girls across the UK which needs to be treated with the utmost urgency – not just by the police and partners, but our society as a whole."