As two women die every week due to domestic violence, please take just five minutes of your time to listen to Labour MP Jess Phillips reading the names of these women.

First published in March 2020.

Jess Phillips MP has once again reminded Parliament and Britons of all the women who have been murdered by men over the past year in Britain.

As has been trailed in a number of other speeches, I rise, like I rise every year, to read the names of the women who have been murdered by men since this time last year. I am afraid to say that the statistics released recently show that this is, unfortunately, not a number that goes down but in fact a number that is going up.

So I shall start: Julie Webb, Tracey Lovell, Libby Squire, Antoinette Donnegan, Dorothy Bowyer, Laureline Garcia-Bertaux, Giselle Marimon-Herrera, Allison Marimon-Herrera, Lala Kamara, Alice Morrow, Rachel Evans, Alison McKenzie, Janette Dunbavand, Barbara Heywood, Paula Meadows, Anna Reed, Sarah Fuller, Megan Newton, Leah Fray, Saima Riaz, Sammy-Lee Lodwig, Amy Parsons, Mihrican Mustafa, Henriett Szucs, Emma Faulds, Lauren Griffiths, Ellie Gould, Joanne Hamer, Mavis Long, Julia Rawson, Jayde Hall, Elizabeth McShane, Linda Treeby, Regen Tierney, Paige Gibson, Neomi Smith, Safie Xheta, Valerie Richardson, Lucy Rushton, Kelly Fauvrelle, Joanna Thompson, Ligita Kostiajeviene, Lesley Pearson, Carol Milne, Doreen Virgo, Diane Dyer, Kayleigh Hanks, Kelly-Anne Case, Dorothy Woolmer, Natalie Crichlow, Belinda Rose, Pamela Mellor, Linda Vilika, Lindsay Birbeck, Michelle Pearson, Rebecca Simpson, Alice Farquharson, Laura Rakstelyte, Sandra Samuels, Marlene McCabe, Lana Nemceva, Bethany Fields, Serafima Mashaka, Vera Hudson, Keeley Bunker, Emily Goodman, Cristina Ortiz-Lozano, Margaret Robertson, Arlene Williams, Sarah Hassell, Fatima Burathoki, Lesley Spearing, Niyat Berhane Teklemariam, Zoe Orton, Beatrice Yankson, Levi Ogden, and Tsegereda Gebremariam—who lived on the next street to the street that I live on. I saw the sirens and heard their roar, and knew I would have to read out her name. I go on: Nicola Stevenson, Mandeep Singh, Alison McBlaine, Katy Sprague, Saskia Jones, Lindsay de Feliz, Marion Price, Jolanta Jakubowska, Kayleigh Dunning, Nelly Myers, Angela Tarver, Amy Appleton, Sandra Seagrove, Vivienne Bryan, Stacey Cooper, Helen Almey, Magdalena Pacult, Katherine Bevan, Kelly Price, Beverley Denahy, Gian Kaur Bhandal, Margaret Grant, Kymberli Sweeney, Mary Haley, Cherith Van Der Ploeg, Ann Mowbray, Debbie Zurick, Li Qing Wang, and Janice Woolford.

Since Karen Ingala Smith, the woman who counts these women, sent me this list last Thursday, two further women had to be added this morning: Katrina Fletcher and Bhavini Pravin.

Also on the list are five women who were murdered alongside their friend, husband or partner: Tatiana Koudriavtsev, Layla Arezo, Jasbir Kaur, Premm Monti, and Frances Murray. I separate them from the main list, which Karen had not done when she sent it to me, because in almost all of those cases, aside from one, both the woman and her partner were murdered by their son. I often rise in this debate to talk about violent partner domestic abuse, and the vast majority of the names that I read out will have been that exact thing, but one thing that is very rarely tackled is children’s abuse of their parents. When I worked at Women’s Aid, I saw the horror of a woman dealing with an adolescent son who was abusing her and beating her. You cannot go to a refuge to get away from your child—it is impossible. We must do much more in policy to deal with that.

I could not read that list without Karen Ingala Smith and all those at The Femicide Census. She never allows us to look away from the reality of male violence towards women. In reading the list, and thinking about having to say the same thing every year, I cannot help but reflect that had these women all been murdered in terrorist incidents, had these women all died of coronavirus, or had these women all died—as I have heard my right hon. Friend the Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) say many times—at sports events over the year, there would be a huge inquiry. Had these all been terrorist deaths, the Government—not just this Government, but any Government—would stop at nothing to enact policy quickly and effectively. Cobra meetings would be held if this many people had died of coronavirus, even in that space of time. A far greater response is made to almost every other epidemic than the epidemic of male violence against women.

For every woman who has sat in front of me and has suffered this over the years, I can say that it leaves most of them feeling literally as if they are worth less—their lives are worth less. Women’s bodies—women’s lives—matter less, and the epidemic of violence against them is never considered to be a pattern or a disease in our country or around the world that requires the same will as other issues. I recognise that the Government have brought forward the Domestic Abuse Bill, and we are all pleased to see it back, but until we start hearing that list as if it were a list in another circumstance and acting with the same level of horror, knowing that we would gain the same political benefit from dealing with it as we would were it terrorism, we will never get anywhere.

Speech given on 5 March 2020 by Jess Phillips.

Watch the speech:

Labour MP Jess Phillips in the House of Commons. /

If you would like to get involved with organisations that support and help women victims of domestic violence, please visit:

[This speech was first published in the Hansard and re-published in PMP Magazine on 7 March 2020. | The author of the speech wrote in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Screenshot of Jess Phillips in the House of Commons.)