Camilla pays tribute to women whose lives have been ‘brutally ended'

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The Duchess of Cornwall has paid tribute to those whose lives have been “brutally ended” as she called for action to prevent violence against women.

Camilla acknowledged a number of women who have died in violent circumstances, including Sarah Everard, at a reception for the Shameless! Festival at the Wellcome Collection in London.

While urging for their names to “never be forgotten”, she recalled a victim impact statement read out in court by Sarah Everard’s mother, Susan, describing it as “searing”.

The duchess said: “Each one of these women endured unimaginable torment – and their loved ones who are left behind continue to suffer in the wake of their deaths.

“On September 30, Sarah Everard’s mother stood before her daughter’s killer to give her searing victim impact statement.”

After quoting from the statement, the duchess added: “I know that all of you here today join me in paying tribute to all these precious lives that have been brutally ended, and in renewing our commitment to do everything we can to bring about the end of violence against women.”

On the same day Sarah Everard’s killer, Wayne Couzens, was arrested, a survey was published stating that 86% of young women in the UK have been sexually harassed in a public space, Camilla said.

She added that a crime survey for England and Wales showed that 144,000 women were victims of rape or attempted rape in the last year, which equates to roughly 16 every hour.

Camilla said she hoped the upcoming Shameless! Festival – a collaboration between the WOW (Women of the World) Foundation, of which she is president, and Birkbeck, University of London’s SHaME (Sexual Harms and Medical Encounters) project – would help create the world free from violence against women.

“Together, today, let us resolve to support survivors to be ‘shameless’ and not to take on misplaced feelings of stigma,” she said.

“Through speaking up about our experiences, we break the wall of silence that allows perpetrators to go unpunished and increases the feeling of isolation that so many survivors describe.”

She also urged for men to get involved in the movement, saying they need to be “on board” to tackle violence against women.

“Because how many more women must be harassed, raped or murdered before we truly unite to forge a violence-free world?” Camilla asked.

The Duchess of Cornwall (left) with Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie (Peter Nichols/PA)

Ahead of the reception, Camilla met with Jude Kelly, founder and director of the WOW Foundation, and Julia Gillard, chairwoman of Wellcome, which is supporting the festival.

Other guests at the event included Carrie Johnson, members of the WOW Foundation and representatives of Birkbeck’s SHaME project.

The Shameless! Festival will take place at Battersea Arts Centre on November 27, where it aims to “bring together activism and art to confront and change attitudes towards sexual violence”.

Camilla has previously been an advocate for preventing and addressing the issue of sexual violence and harassment.

In 2017, she worked with Boots to launch the Wash Bag Project, a scheme that provides a wash bag of toiletries to sexual abuse survivors across the UK.

In March last year, she spoke about domestic violence at the Women of the World Festival and recorded a video message for the United Nation’s Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in November.

In September, the duchess was named patron of the Mirabel Sexual Assault Centre in Lagos.

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