To mark the life and work of the late MP Jo Cox, Bexhill and Battle Labour party hosted a lunch and afternoon workshop on Saturday 17 June at the Emmanuel Centre in Battle. The workshop looked at ending ‘Rape Violence’ with guest speakers from Sussex Police and Eastbourne Survivors and culminated in a vote on a motion which will be sent to the Labour Party’s National Policy Forum.
Organised by outgoing Women’s Officer, Greta Vipond, the day was inspired by a workshop she attended last year at the Labour Women’s Conference in 2016. Greta said “Rape seemed to be at the heart of all violence not only against women but against all manner of vulnerable people no matter their gender, age or culture so that to bring an end to rape, would go a long way to bringing an end to violence against women”.
Phil Johnson spoke on behalf of Eastbourne Survivors, a charity which supports victims of child sexual abuse and adults who were subject to abuse as children. Phil told his own story of abuse at the hands of Church of England clergy and his long fight for justice. His message was that we need to educate the public by talking about rape and sexual abuse.
Sam Fuller from Sussex Police Safeguarding Investigation Unit supported Phil’s message and welcomed the opportunity to talk about some of the distressing cases she had encountered. She said that more people need to come forward to report sexual abuse and rape so that patterns of offending can be detected and offenders successfully prosecuted.
Greta read out a message of support from Bianca Jagger whose Human Rights Foundation is campaigning to end violence towards women and girls. Bianca later posted a ‘thank you’ on social media to the local Labour Women’s group for organising the meeting which had earlier unanimously passed the motion ‘to bring an end to rape violence across the board and worldwide’.