This year we saw the 11 year anniversary of Million Women Rise. Million Women Rise (MWR) believes that male violence against women and children is a global pandemic. Violence devastates the lives of women, our families, and our communities. It also threatens to undermine efforts to bring about sustainable development. Therefore our campaign to end violence against women is an international struggle for female emancipation and liberty.
At the march we ask women to wear something red - the colour of our blood, the blood of our sisters who have been murdered and raped at the hands of male violence. Red is the colour of women's power, strength, rebellion and determination as well as passion, fire and love.
Male violence against women and girls is both endemic and systemic. It is a constant daily experience for women: from street harassment, poor access to women’s reproductive health services and abortion, domestic violence and rape. From the Democratic Republic of Congo to Colombia to Libya, sexualised violence has been used to punish, terrorise and exact ‘revenge’ on communities in wars which are supported and created by capitalist demands for resources; whether this be conflict diamonds, mineral wealth as seen in the DRC, or simply land. Women’s bodies bear the brunt of male aggression and capitalist greed. Male violence kills, tortures and maims millions of women across the world every day.
This is the reality of male violence against women and girls in the UK:
The cost of domestic violence alone to the UK economy is £23 billion pounds a year with approximately 1 in 8 women experiencing domestic violence every year. Yet, government cuts to women’s services and legal aid are forcing more women and children to live with abusive men as refuges disappear due to lack of funding and support programs for women and children close for the same reason. 10 women a week in the UK commit suicide due to the trauma of domestic and sexual violence. 2 women every week are murdered by male partners. This is the reality within which women and children live.
A woman’s right to live free from violence and/or the fear of violence has not been achieved. Women continue to be attacked, exploited, and violated in many different ways, in our homes, on our streets, on our public transport, at our places of work. More than ever, we need to gather as a critical mass.
We need to be strong together and in large numbers. Solidarity is strength; the voices of many are louder together than a single voice.
Women be ready... get ready... stay ready for the next critical mass.
We will not be silenced.