Violence Against Women - We Will Not Be Silenced

In the last few days, women and men have turned out across the country to remember Sarah Everard, defying the undemocratic establishment ban on peaceful vigils. They were there to protest the everyday threat of violence and harassment that so many women face whether walking the streets, in their own homes, at school, on the university campuses or in the workplaces.

These included protests in Birmingham City Centre and on the University of Birmingham campus. Here we publish two reports:

Birmingham: Searching for political answers

Over 100 people gathered right at the heart of Birmingham in Victoria Square, outside the council offices.

This was in spite of draconian laws recently introduced by stealth by the Tories to curtail the fundamental right to protest, and demands from West Midlands Police who pressured organisers to cancel the original event.

Although the original organisers did not attend, many women and people of all genders from different communities across the city grouped in the city centre. While the event began as a vigil, it was clear that attendees were looking for political answers to the deep-rooted structural issues faced by women.

Women members of the Socialist Party took the lead in delivering speeches to the crowd, raising the need for fully funded services and a socialist future to protect women and create real equality for everyone. We encouraged other protesters to come up and speak about their own experiences.

There was great interest in the political points being made, with many taking leaflets, papers and leaving their details with members to continue to discuss how to continue to take political action despite attacks from the Tories and capitalist establishment.

Ella Foley Doyle

On Wednesday 17th March, socialist students at the University of Birmingham stood in solidarity with the Reclaim Our Campus protest; a socially distanced vigil recounting the horrific abuse women and other marginalised genders face every day. With a huge turnout of nearly a thousand UoB students, we listened to impassioned speeches and testimonies of those who had suffered as a direct result of the University’s antiquated, patriarchal, and capitalist ideals. With speeches lasting well over 2 hours, it was no surprise that the university has a long way to go to ensure the safety of its students.

Socialist Students stands wholeheartedly with this movement and demands immediate action to be taken by the University of Birmingham. As of the 16th, there have been 6 reported cases of women students being forcibly pulled into cars and assaulted surrounding the main student neighbourhood - all of which the university denied existing. And there are hundreds more cases of women being harassed, abused, and made to feel unsafe in their place of learning.

We demand the university take decisive action to condemn the misogynist culture that permeates the institution, and commit to severe disciplinary action to be taken against sexual assaulters and harassers. For too long the university has ignored survivors, facilitated abusers, and consistently put profits above the safety of their students.

We demand better funding and signposting for victim support services, a commitment of concrete action to be taken against perpetrators, and better lighting around campus and accommodation at night. You cannot put a price tag on the safety of women students, and it is all too clear that the university must do better.

Socialist Students calls for:

  • Government funding for what women need on campus – properly funded support services, campus lighting and affordable housing. Scrap marketization, fees and debt!
  • Democratic oversight of sexual harassment reporting procedures
  • A united campaign of staff and students that can fight to transform the campuses – organise for free education and make the 1% pay!
  • To fight for a socialist alternative to capitalist inequality and chaos

We'll be joining other Socialist Students and Socialist Party members from around the country for a meeting to discuss the socialist approach to ending harassment and violence against women at 6pm on Friday 19th March - click here to register.

And on Wednesday 21st April at 4pm we'll be holding a socially distanced protest at University of Birmingham for free education and full funding of the services we need, including measures to prevent sexual harassment.

Read more on our programme for womens' rights and socialism recently created by female Socialist Party members here

Written by workers for workers.

The media never covers the real struggles of the working class. Instead they spread lies and misinformation. That's why we have our own newpaper and email list.

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We are a branch of the Socialist Party, the English and Welsh section of the Committee for a Workers' International - a worldwide revolutionary socialist organisation with parties and groups in countries across the globe.
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