FAIRFAX EAST BY ELECTION Labour’s Megan Boucher on the Campaign Trail
“…Feeling secure is the bedrock on which communities can thrive…”
The only female candidate in the Fairfax East by election speaks out…
It was a Monday evening and a cold blanket of night hung on the evening air. It was 6.30pm. Not the “after midnight” type backdrop you imagine these stories to have. In fact, on a regular day, this would be around the time I would be arriving home after finishing work and picking up my daughter from nursery. There would usually be a quick stop at a supermarket to pick up a few essentials before carrying the contents of our haul into the flat whilst shouting things like “yes, you need to take your coat and shoes off and put them away!” Normal, every day activities which seem to play out from some form of muscle memory buried deep in our social conscience.
But today was different.
6.30pm and I am sat in my van ready to leave a relatively well populated, supermarket car park. As I begin to reverse, I notice a silhouette of a man in my wing mirror. Not wishing to run him down (I’m not known for my driving skills!) I stop the car and wait as he walks toward the driver side door. Instantly, a sense of dread sweeps over me. I’m hoping he’s noticed my slightly flat tyre or that one of my rear lights isn’t working and as a concerned follow citizen, he wants to inform me.
My first mistake; I open the window slightly find out what his intentions are. I am now aware of his arm which has reached inside the van and is now holding on to my steering wheel. He demands a lift home and after I explain that is not an option he becomes increasingly more aggressive kicking and punching the vehicle whilst shouting derogatory remarks about me and the entire female population. I take an opportunity to drive away as he increases the pressure by kicking the front of the vehicle repeatedly. He opens the passenger door, makes remarks to my friend, before returning to the driver side. At this point I braced myself as I felt certain one of his punches was about to land on me. But somehow, and I am still unsure how, I managed to remove his arm and drove away. Shaken but unharmed.
I began with a sense of anger; angry that someone could take advantage of my vulnerability in that moment but also anger at myself for “being in that situation” and for “not protecting myself”. I began to question what my instinct would have been if my daughter was in the car.
The truth is, many women feel vulnerable in their own communities and anti-social behaviour is something which continues to be an issue in our community.
The national Police Cheifs Council identifies that the harm caused to victims and society by violence against women and girls (VAWG) in all its forms, is immeasurable.
While men and boys also suffer from many of these forms of abuse, they disproportionately affect women.
Policing, and society, must focus on violence against women and girls so that it can be eradicated. The policing response has been shown to be inconsistent and so there is now a national focus on supporting forces to prioritise VAWG-related crimes.
Labour has set out key missions in its manifesto – this relies on local a common partnership between local and national government.
One of Labour’s mission will be to: Halve serious violent crime and raise confidence in the police and criminal justice system to its highest levels, within a decade.
Our mission focuses on the twin challenges of reducing serious violent crime and raising confidence in our police.
By focusing on these twin challenges, our mission will result in more visible policing, faster courts, higher standards and ultimately more criminals brought to justice.
Within a decade, our mission means we will:
• Halve the level of violence against women and girls.
• Halve the incidents of knife crime.
• Raise confidence in every police force to its highest levels.
• Reverse the collapse in the proportion of crimes solved.
Labour believes – and I passionately believe – that feeling secure is the bedrock on which opportunities are built, communities can thrive, and local economies can prosper.
A vote for Labour, locally and nationally is a vote for safer communities.
On December 18th Vote for MEGAN BOUCHER-Labour in Fairfax East