Jean Hatchet is a feminist campaigner who began riding for women murdered as a result of domestic abuse – her first ride was on March 9th 2017. She names each ride after an individual woman murdered as a result of domestic abuse since 2016. At the time of the ride, she had ridden for 257 women and 6330 miles. She says it has become the most important thing she has ever done in her life.
On Saturday 7th September 2019 at 1pm, just for one occasion, she asked women of the UK and around the world to ride with her to honour the women murdered by men they knew since the beginning of 2016. Small groups of women met other women to ride together in locations around the UK. She rode in London with a group of fantastic women including Karen Ingala Smith who began the project ‘Counting Dead Women’ which inspired these rides (CEO of nia).
Each woman wore a red t-shirt or jacket to represent the blood of the women killed by men. The ride was for women only and over the age of 18. There were no men. It was crucial that women highlight the sexed nature of the crime. Women are killed by men. Between 2009 and 2015, 589 women were murdered by current or former intimate partners or family members.
As a group of women, who had met through campaigning for women’s rights in Manchester, we felt we wanted to join Jean in her ride, so we arranged a meeting point in Media City.
A small group of us met, some of us knew each other, some were strangers, coming from Manchester, Cheshire and Cumbria. We all spoke of how Jean’s rides have moved us, how we have all been affected in some way by male violence and how we wanted to honour the women taken. We each wrote a name from Jean’s blog, a name of a woman or girl murdered, and wore them as we rode.
We then rode up Bridgewater Canal, ending in Sale. We rode to show our love for the women and to make sure they and their families know that women will never forget them. We rode full of sadness but also full of love – a female peloton to remember them – a #RideForMurderedWomen
The friendships we formed that day have solidified into an amazing sisterhood. We talk daily via a group chat, we lift and support each other through good times and bad, we share our worst days, and our best, our funny stories, our family problems, our small victories, our achievements, everything. We are lawyers, therapists, school governors, engineers, carers, youth workers, scientists, academics, social enterprise leaders, nurses, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, feminists. We are women. We have gone on to create our #HeartsForMurderedWomen, also to raise awareness of the Femicide Census, and we are planning the next #RideForMurderedWomen, again, inspired and led by Jean Hatchet.
The national ride in September 2019, raised money for Nia, who work to help and to save some of the most vulnerable women in the UK: http://www.niaendingviolence.org.uk/
It has raised nearly £14,000 so far. Please donate here if you can:
Jean also wrote a blog for the ride, where she has the names of the women she has ridden for since she began riding in 2017. Please take time to read but stop if it is too much. It is always too much.
The Femicide census, published February 2020, for women killed in 2018:
Karen Ingala Smith; Counting Dead Women: