Last week I spoke to students at Hills Road Sixth form college about feminism, taking ‘the equal right to sexual pleasure’ as my topic. Here’s the blog post I’ve written for Gender and Education about it:
(Trigger warning for discussion of violence against women)
Million Women Rise is a march and rally which takes place anually in London (not to be confused with Billion Women Rise, which is a completely different thing). MWR was founded in 2007 by Sabrina Qureshi, a campaigner and former womens’ sector advocacy worker. The event’s organisers are grassroots campaigners, without corporate endorsements or ties to large charities or NGOs.
This year we have already seen the rape of millions of women throughout the world and we are only in February. We have heard the German authorities apologies to a teenage girl for sending her to a brothel to get work… The Gang Rape and murder of a 17 year old girl in South Africa and the protest from our sisters in South Africa… Many of you have been at the ongoing protests supporting the voices of women of India after the gang rape in India of a young woman who is now dead… We have witnessed the Irish government commit murder of a woman who was denied her human rights to an abortion…Women in Egypt have spoken out against state sponsored Violence Against Women…
And we will not ignore the ongoing rape and genocide of our sisters and children across the world from Easten Congo to Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Palestine, Ivory Coast, Mali, Pakistan, Bangladesh, London, Bradford, Bolivia, Brazil, fromTamil women to Wales, East Europe, western Europe to the Americas to name a few.
Male violence against women is pandemic, it is organised and systematic, ENOUGH is ENOUGH!
This year’s event will take place on Saturday 9th March, meeting at 12pm Oxford Street (Outside Selfridges). Oxford Street and Regent Street will be closed as women march through the West End, ending with a rally at Trafalgar Square.
The one concern I have about this event is that the website makes no mention of whether trans women are welcome to take part, and the slogan “One Woman, One Body, One Song, One Love” sounds like it could exclude trans women. I hope that in future years the organisers will make it clear that all self-defining women are invited to come together for this important event, to rally against the misogynistic violence which hurts us all.
(UPDATE: it says in this post that the Information Standard website doesn’t load. In fact it seems to work in some browsers but not others – it worked for me in Opera but not in Firefox.)
Regular readers of this blog will know that some members of Feminist Action Cambridge are involved in a campaign to prevent pro-life charity CareConfidential from using deception to lure members of the public to their “pregnancy counselling” services.
CareConfidential offers “pregnancy counselling” over the phone and via Internet chat. They also offer free in-person counselling through a network of over 100 affiliated crisis pregnancy centres (CPCs), which are mostly run by church groups. CareConfidential itself began as a programme of the far-right Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) which opposes abortion and gay marriage, and promote “gay cure therapy”; these people hold extreme views which are not shared by the majority of the UK public, including UK Christians. They have been repeatedly been caught giving out medically incorrect information and providing biased counselling which seems designed to frighten people who use their service out of considering an abortion (see for instance The Guardian: Abortion pregnancy counselling found wanting).
CareConfidential goes to great lengths to disguise their origins. There is nothing on their website or in any of their pamphlets to suggest that they are anti-abortion, and their website gives every appearance of offering a high-quality, evidence-based service which respects the right of clients to make an informed choice. One of the ways they make themselves appear credible is through their use of the Information Standard mark on their website:
Yo, info and bookings for IWD can be found here:
Book places at the conference and other events ASAP! It will be a great and inspiring day.
So Cambridge women are skilled and talented and generous and resourceful and generally wonderful. You hopefully already knew this, but as further evidence I present not one but two events coming up in the next few weeks showcasing their talents AND raising money for Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre (which is in itself a great organisation run by a pretty amazing group of women).
On Friday Women’s Work: a celebration of female performers is happening at 8 pm at The Fountain.
From the Facebook event – “A night of eclectic and bombastic music, dance, poetry and visual art from Cambridge’s finest female performers and creative types.
Held in The Fountain’s cosy and welcoming function room on the top floor 🙂 Doors open at 7.30pm and the entertainment starts at 8. There will also be a merchandise table with work from some of the performers, and the proceeds from this will be going to CRCC.
This extraordinary event boasts the talents of 8 incredible women doing the very simple thing of standing up and being heard – come along and show your support for a very worthwhile cause.
£4.50 on the door (student £3.50)”
And next week at the ADC Theatre, a production of The Vagina Monologues is being put on – “This episodic ensemble by Eve Ensler presents a series of testimonies, ‘Vagina Interviews’, conducted with women from all over the world back in the 90s. The women’s various perspectives provide a delicate blend of comedy and tragedy which will have you both rolling in your seats and moved by the stark reality of the violence women face every day.
This all-female empowering speak- out hopes to raise both money for Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre and awareness for V-Day, Stop Violence Against Women Day, founded by Eve Ensler herself.”
Both events are the culmination of lots of hard work, and I feel a possibly unjustified vicarious pride in the achievements of my Cambridge sisters.
Charity Zumbathon in aid of Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre
Sunday 3rd March:2 – 5pm (doors open at 1.30pm) at Netherhall School, Queen Edith’s Way, Cambridge
Tickets £10 in advance or £12 on the door (book early to reserve your place by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org)
Great to see so many people at an energetic Reclaim the Night last night. There were three fabulous speakers and a performance poet, with several hundred of us hanging on every word in a candlelit Kings College chapel.
I wrote a statement for The Cambridge Student in advance of the demo (to be quoted as ‘a member of FAC’ not on behalf of the group, as discussed in the meeting last week), so I thought I’d share it with you, as it sums up quite nicely what Reclaim the Night is about for me:
I’m thrilled that the CUSU Women’s Campaign are continuing the hugely important tradition of Reclaim the Night marches. This march is a rare space for the voices of women who have been silenced by sexual violence to be heard. Marching together in a group of women also means that, for once, we can respond to the street harassment that most women experience frequently. For once, we can actually respond to harassers without fear of escalation of violence, as we’re surrounded by other women who are in solidarity with us. And we can shout about our truth – that rape is common, and victims are silenced. Read the rest of this entry »