Report on a demonstration in London on International Day to End Violence Against Women, 1992.
November 25th is the International Day to End Violence Against Women. In Britain, on Saturday 28th, women marched to Trafalgar Square in London to protest against the global attacks on women's rights and bodies. The numbers started at around 2000 but swelled to 4000 as women joined the march.
In the square, speakers were hampered by the fact that the Department of the Environment (the government department responsible for Trafalgar Square) would not allow the electricity to be switched on. Thus the speakers, from a diverse number of groups, organisations and campaigns, were forced to shout into a megaphone. A woman speaker from Yugoslavia was visibly distressed s she was forced to shout atrocities inflicted on women in the war, into a crowd that still could not hear her.
Violence against women is global. It ranges from domestic violence to the international sex trade, to imperialism such as the British occupation of Northern Ireland, to pornography, to the new colonialism, to the physical and political violation that is the 'disabled health service', to female genital mutilation.
As all these women, from all these internationally focused campaigns, spoke of struggle and resistance to a cheering audience, it was impossible not to realise that women must stand up and link across the world. Isolated, we fight alone, together we are an unstoppable force.
There followed a minute's silence, to remember the women who have had their lives taken from them. Last year the song "I will survive" was then played and women danced in Trafalgar Square. There being no electricity, this year we sang it. We finished by making a minute's noise- because women have always been silenced.
It was an incredibly moving and uplifting experience. I personally felt profoundly exhilarated and re-energized. Across the world: Women's Tradition; Struggle not Submission.
for information contact: November 25th Women's Action, 52 -54 Featherstone Street, London EC1Y 8DB.
(written by Sam Murdoch, from: 'Bad Attitude'- radical women's newspaper, 121 Railton Road, London SE24 OLR)
European Counter Network, December 1992. Taken from the Practical History website.