Today marks the 22nd anniversary of the worst atrocity on European soil since the second world war, the genocide in Srebrenica. This year, thousands will gather at more than 400 events in the UK to commemorate those who were murdered in the genocide and to reflect on how hatred is affecting our communities here in the UK and what we can do to prevent this.
Last year reminded us that the UK cannot afford to become complacent about community cohesion, with some sections of the media and certain political figures stirring up hatred in our communities and a 41% increase in reported hate crime in the aftermath of the EU referendum. A disproportionate level of this hate crime has been targeted at women. At the same time, reported violence against women in the UK has reached an all-time high. As in Bosnia, the root of these crimes is the dehumanisation of others – the belief that the perpetrator is superior by reason of sex, race or nationality, and has the right to control, humiliate or hurt their victims.
If we want to build stronger, safer, more cohesive communities, we must name and address the issue of male violence against women and girls and recognise that hatred and dehumanisation are the root of this. We must include sexism and violence against women and girls in our fight against all forms of identity-based hatred.
That’s why we are breaking the silence by inviting women such as Bakira Hasečić, president of the Association of Women Victims of War and a survivor of genocidal rape, to speak about their experiences at commemorations in the UK. Bakira is one of the bravest women I have ever met. By speaking out