Compelling memorial bench to women and girls killed by male violence unveiled in Sutton

07 Mar 2022

Sutton Council, Reclaim Sutton’s Streets and a team of local artists have unveiled a compelling memorial bench - dedicated to all women and girls who have been killed by male violence - in Trinity Square, Sutton. 

Local artists Samia Tossio and Hana Horack created a beautiful mosaic design, which incorporates the words of the White Ribbon Pledge, taken by men against male violence. The bench is intended as a lasting memorial to women and girls who have lost their lives to male violence, and a place for people to pause and reflect. 

The idea for the memorial came in the wake of the murder of Sabina Nessa in September 2021, when people joined a vigil in Trinity Square, centred around a “tree of remembrance” that Samia had decorated through her yarn-bombing. 

As part of the project, the Council supported Samia and Hana to deliver mosaic making workshops at YourSpace Sutton, which were a space for conversations around ending violence against women and girls. Over 40 residents attended the workshop, to create their own personal mosaic to take away.

The bench was installed with the help of Successful Sutton BID and Sutton Council.

Sutton Council is committed to tackling domestic abuse and violence against women and girls. The Council is working towards White Ribbon Accreditation, and along with its partners and providers who provide domestic abuse services and support locally, has a ‘no wrong or closed door’ ethos to direct people to where they can access the right support and help.

Councillor Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, said: “It is a deeply poignant sight, that we should have a reminder of such terrible events that have robbed women and girls of their lives and loved ones.

"I am humbled, but also inspired by the compassion and passion of so many local people who came together to make this bench a focal point, and a reminder to us all to challenge, and work towards ending male violence to women and girls.”

Sarah McGuiness, from Reclaim Sutton Streets, said: “Campaigning to end violence against women and girls is a heavy subject to carry which can be met with resistance and difficult conversation but the movement grows and forges forward as day after day women are abused and killed

“Having such a beautiful mosaic memorial not only shines light on all the women who have been lost to male violence it also educates and calls to action in the inspiring words of the white ribbon pledge ‘Never commit, excuse or remain silence about violence against women’.” 

Hana Horack and Samia Tossio, from SamiArt, said: “We’ve been incredibly moved by the community response to this idea. The bench is a perfect place to sit and reflect on kindness to family and others. More than that, it's so visually impactful that I hope it brings people together, to remember, to stop and think, to talk - whether they get the time to sit on it or not! Just like kindness, a bench is something to be shared.”

The event coincides with many taking place in Sutton, nationally and globally, to mark International Women’s Day on Tuesday 8 March.