Hundreds expected at rally for murdered Natalie McNally and victims of gender-based violence

Hundreds expected at rally for murdered Natalie McNally and victims of gender-based violence

HONOURING NATALIE: A mourner holds an order of service during the funeral of Natalie McNally last month. 

Hundreds of people are to gather Saturday afternoon to call for an end to violence against women and to remember women's rights activist Natalie McNally who was fatally stabbed in her home.

Ms McNally, who was 15 weeks pregnant with her first child, was killed in her home in Silverwood Green in Lurgan on December 18.

Her killer has not been charged and Ms McNally’s family has appealed to anyone with information to come forward. The PSNI has released CCTV footage of a man they are trying to identify who was filmed walking into Silverwood Green on the night of the killing and leaving almost 40 minutes later.

“Natalie was a feminist activist herself, a strong voice for women. It’s unthinkable what’s happened to her,” Ms McNally’s brother Niall McNally said ahead of Saturday’s vigil in Lurgan.

“We’re asking people across the island to have a look at the CCTV footage the PSNI have released to help identify the suspect. And we’re asking everyone who wants to see an end to violence against women, to join us in raising our voices against it this afternoon”.

Ms McNally, 32, was stabbed and beaten. She suffered defensive wounds as she tried to fight off her killer. Her family has named her unborn baby boy, who was also killed that night, Dean.

At least one in four women will experience domestic or sexual violence during their lives. Twelve women have died in violent circumstances in the Republic since Ashling Murphy was killed last January, according to Women’s Aid.

Ms McNally is the second unsolved murder in Lurgan since Laura Marshall was murdered in 2016.

Northern Ireland is the only jurisdiction in Britain or Ireland which does not have a strategy to eliminate violence against women.

The National Women’s Council (NWC) has organised Saturday’s rally. Rachel Coyle, NWC’s head of campaigns and mobilisation, said: “Violence against women is a scourge on our society, with killings at the sharpest end of the spectrum.

“But these killings are not inevitable. They are rooted in misogyny and a male sense of entitlement to women’s bodies, and they are not something we can tolerate any longer. The rally will show that people have had enough. The tide is turning. Violence against women must end.” 

NWC is calling for politicians in Northern Ireland to prioritise violence against women. This includes developing a strategy to end it through preventing violence, protecting victims and survivors, prosecuting perpetrators, and implementing policies in line with the Istanbul Convention, which the UK ratified in 2022. 

Every domestic homicide North and South must be properly reviewed to better understand the circumstances and can better protect women’s lives, the NWC said.

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