"On March 9th 2017 I began to ride my bike for murdered women. I did this initially as a personal and private tribute to women killed by a current or former partner or family member. I felt lucky to be riding my bike that day. I knew I could easily have been one of them.
I quickly realised that I would like this to be an awareness raising project to help raise funds for women's refuges and women's services that would help to save women's lives.
I name each ride after an individual woman murdered as a result of domestic abuse since 2016. I have so far ridden for 257 women and 6330 miles. It has become the most important thing I have ever done in my life. Every time I climb on the bike I carry the weight of each woman's story on my back. The horrific details of her brutal murder by a man often reduce me to tears. I think of her broken and grieving family. Of children left behind without a mother. Mothers without daughters. Friends without friends. Sisters without sisters. Brothers without sisters. An endless list of lives in tatters and loved ones struggling to plug the gaping hole where grief for the lost woman leaks out.
On 7th September 2019 at 1pm I would like women to join me in riding for each of the women murdered as a result of domestic abuse in the UK since 2016. I hope women will join from all over the world in any way they see fit. On the London ride around Hampstead Heath or on a regional ride which women are arranging. Or from their bedrooms on exercise bikes or wherever they can.
The ride is women only. This is because the women I ride for are women only. Men are the ones who murder them. At a rate of, on average, one woman every three days.
I am so pleased funds raised will go to nia. Karen Ingala Smith, their courageous and wonderful CEO, has been counting dead women for too long. Let's help her save some."
From nia -
"nia is a proudly feminist, secular, rights-based, charity supporting women, girls and children who have been subjected to sexual and domestic violence, including prostitution.
Last year we provided face-to-face support to over 1,500 women and girls, including 490 women identified as being at high risk of serious domestic violence, 380 women and girls who had experienced sexual violence, 147 who had sought support via their GP, 26 women seeking to exit prostitution and 23 women who lived in our specialist refuges for women with problematic substance use. A further 983 women and/or family/friends/agencies enquiring on behalf of survivors of sexual violence were supported through our helpline.
nia, uniquely for a small service provider, sees our advocacy role as existing both within our one-to-one work with women, girls and children (summarised above) and simultaneously at institutional and social levels. If we don’t contribute to changing the status of women and girls and developing awareness of and resistance to men’s violence against women and girls, we can’t claim to be contributing to ending domestic and sexual violence. It’s important to us that nia, as a feminist charity, doesn’t lose sight of the wider social change that we would like to see for women and girls.
Karen Ingala Smith has been chief Executive of nia since 2009. In 2012, following the murder of a young woman in Hackney she began recording and commemorating UK women killed by men in a campaign called Counting Dead Women."