From Delhi to Southall: Freedom is Our Right!
Women, Rise and Fight!
March Against Violence Against Women and Girls
On the 16th December 2012, six men repeatedly raped a young woman on a bus in Delhi before dumping her and her friend on the roadside. She died of massive internal injuries two weeks later. What happened in Delhi has sparked outrage in India and has led to global anger and protests against the appalling levels of violence that women experience everyday of their lives everywhere.
All over the world, women are challenging domestic violence, rape, sexual violence, sexual harassment, dowry related violence, honour-based violence, incest, female genital mutilation, acid attacks and many other forms of gender-based violence. All over the world, women are making their voices heard. In the UK,
- 3 million women face violence every year
- The suicide rates of Asian women are up to 3 times the national average
- 66,000 women in England and Wales live with female genital mutilation
- In 2009, the Forced Marriage unit dealt with 1682 cases, the majority of which were women and girls
‘Enough is Enough’
In Southall, as in other parts of the UK, women experience violence both within and outside the home, from family members and strangers on a daily basis.
‘We do not have the freedom or feel safe to walk on the streets of Southall whether it’s day or night. It is not just the street where we do not feel safe but also when we go to places of worship and the transport system’ (Southall Black Sisters Women’s Support Group).
What honour keeps us silent?
It is time for us to hold up a mirror to our communities and to face uncomfortable truths: What kind of values do we hold if we place our religious and cultural traditions above the lives of women? What kind of values do we hold if we say that we ‘respect’ our mothers, sisters and daughters and yet allow other women deemed to be ‘worthless’ to be passed around for rape, sexual abuse and exploitation?
What duty stops us protesting?
It is time to take a stance. It is time to define the values that we want to live by, based on the right of all to live with bravery, dignity, equality and freedom, irrespective of gender and background. We call on all women and men to join us in our protest to end violence against women and to send out clear message to our communities and our government that enough is enough: freedom is our right!
Assemble – 12pm Saturday 23rd March outside Southall Black Sisters, 21 Avenue Road, Southall, UB1 3BL
Rally – 3pm on The Green, Southall, UB2 4BG
- Meena Patel, Southall Black Sisters
- Foziha Raja, West London Rape Crisis
- Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing, Southall (tbc)
- Perkash Walia, Southall Black Sisters
- Cllr Ranjit Dheer, Deputy Leader of Ealing Council