Read in a newspaper a few weeks ago two stories – one was about a massive turnout of police for a fellow policeman’s funeral. The other was a story about a woman and her mother who had been killed by an angry boyfriend. I sent the following as a letter to the editor of our local paper, who, strangely enough, didn’t print it…;-)I sympathize with the losses in both of these stories, although I remain astonished at the huge turnouts to police funerals. From my understanding, people attending en masse from other police forces, etc are there to show solidarity, to empathize with the family, and ever so gently to imply a threat – if you kill one cop, we are all against you. We will find you, and hold you to account.
Wouldn’t it be a novel approach if every time a woman is killed by a disgruntled former partner, women from all walks of life showed up at the funeral? What if we crowded the churches, massed out onto the street, blocked traffic and required rerouting, summoned the media? Imagine what a crowd we could generate if women (and supportive men) made it a priority to do this. We are a bigger crowd than the police forces. And, while the men and women of our various protective services (police, military, fire prevention) are prepared for the violence in their professions and are trained to deal with it, most women go into relationships with men with little violence preparation.
We’d be offering solidarity, support for those women who were killed by those they once loved and trusted, support for the families.
And we’d ever so gently imply a threat. We’re watching you. We will hold you to account. You attack one woman, we are all against you.
People know that to attack a police officer is a serious serious thing. We need to let them know that to attack any woman (or man) is equally serious.