Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Lucy Mangan: why are women’s cries for help still falling on deaf ears?


Stylist columnist Lucy Mangan asks why cases of violence against women are still not being prosecuted

After seven years, former military policemen Jeremy Jones and Thomas Fulton have been cleared of raping their colleague Anne-Marie Ellement. She doesn’t know that because she took her own life two years after what the men describe as “a consensual threesome” – albeit one after which Fulton admits calling her a “slag” and a “c*nt” and following which she was found naked except for her cardigan, crying and saying she’d been raped. The judge apologised to the family, whose extreme tenacity in the face of what he described as the “extraordinary reluctance of the Ministry of Defence, the military police and the army prosecuting authority to investigate the allegations,” appears to have been the only reason the allegations were ever fully investigated at all.

Lily Allen’s ‘luck’ changed after seven years too. She was an object of a stalker’s obsession (involving death threats, abusive rants and approaches to her friends and colleagues) for that long while the police, apparently, did virtually nothing – she says she was made to feel “like a nuisance, not a victim” and given a panic alarm for a few months – until said stalker broke into her home one night threatening to knife her. Only when it became a matter of burglary, she said, did police seem much happier to act. She has gone public about it in an attempt to force the authorities to start taking the problem seriously. As she put it last week – “I’m a well-known, wealthy, white woman and my case was handled badly. What if I weren’t?”

Lucy Mangan

And coming up in June, Oscar Pistorius will finally be sentenced for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He was at first found guilty of culpable homicide and served just under a year after he claimed that he thought the person in the loo was an intruder and shot them four times. Appeal judges found him guilty of murder. His defence team will argue for a light sentence because his disability will make prison harder for him.

Are you spotting a pattern yet?

Though violent crime generally has been falling since the mid-Nineties and continues to fall against men, violent crime against women has been rising since 2009. One in four women will be a victim of specifically domestic abuse in her lifetime. All the stories I’ve heard from friends, family and colleagues about what they have suffered speak to the truth of this. I have two women in my life I am currently concerned about. Their friends and I keep in quiet touch, checking facts, noting details and readying ourselves to move in when and if they give the word.

Because we are clearly, all of us collectively and individually, in danger. Evidently over the last two decades harassing, stalking, hitting or killing a woman has still not become something that demands attention or resources (women’s shelters have been first in line for funding cuts since austerity began). It is not unusual. It is not startling. It is worth a panic alarm, temporarily. A manslaughter charge. A light sentence. A judge’s apology. Nothing that inconveniences the men around us – be they perpetrators, police or society at large – too much. We are not worth it.

If you or anyone you know needs help, Refuge has a 24 hour free helpline: 0808 2000 247 or check refuge.org.uk

Photography: Ellis Parrinder, iStock


lily 6.jpg

Lily Allen speaks out about her terrifying stalking ordeal

bring it on.jpg

No cheers here, please: a week of woeful sexism


Why I won't let fear stop me from travelling alone as a woman

Domestic abuse.jpg

Why everybody's talking about The Archers' domestic violence storyline


The London mayoral candidates reveal their policies for women

We Count Postcode Camapign.jpg

#WEcount campaign is helping victims of sexual assault reclaim London

sexual assault.jpg

The beautiful photo-series taking a stand against rape culture


Just who are the Women’s Equality Party and what do they stand for?

sex education feminism.jpg

“Compulsory sex education is a vital tool for the feminist movement”


Lucy Mangan: “Apathy is domestic violence's biggest ally”

We shouldn't as why women stay - we should ask how it came to be that it was impossible for them to leave

by Lucy Mangan
01 Aug 2017

Lucy Mangan: we should “think twice” before considering porn harmless

“Porn has become normalised, placed almost beyond criticism by its sheer prevalence”

by Lucy Mangan
25 Jul 2017

Lucy Mangan is defending our right to platonic friendships

Our columnist on the infuriating mistrust a one-on-one dinner with a friend provokes

by Lucy Mangan
11 Jul 2017

Lucy Mangan: being ambitious isn’t for everyone

"I cannot live at full stretch"

by Lucy Mangan
08 Jun 2017

Lucy Mangan is exhausted by the “age of extremes”

“Can’t we all just agree to meet half-way?”

by Lucy Mangan
17 May 2017

Lucy Mangan: “Why I regret losing my religion”

"The older I get and the more chaotic the world gets, the more I wish I could trust in a higher power."

by Lucy Mangan
03 May 2017

Lucy Mangan exposes the dangers of parental point scoring

“Enough of this parent worship”

by Lucy Mangan
01 May 2017

“Family planning: the equality question”

Lucy Mangan on the burden of contraception

by Lucy Mangan
01 Apr 2017

Lucy Mangan on why feeling beautiful starts with your thoughts

“Erase the ugly voices in your head”

by Lucy Mangan
01 Apr 2017

“A step-by-step guide to sexism”: Lucy Mangan responds to ‘Legs-it’

You are a lady and you have legs. Use them to kick ass.

by Lucy Mangan
01 Apr 2017