On Saturday, days after International Women’s Day, thousands of women marched through central London to call for an end to violence against women and girls.
The protesters marked the 10th annual Million Women Rise march. They marched through Oxford Circus chanting: “Whatever I wear, wherever I go, yes means yes and no means no”. They called for safe streets and “no excuse for violent men”.
The march included several women’s rights groups such as campaigners against female genital mutilation (FGM).
Sabrina Qureshi, the march’s founder, admired the energetic event, saying the march was essential to change society, especially as the movement was “really underfunded”. “A lot of us have worked in domestic violence and sexual violence. It got to a point where I was getting paid to give a woman space, but that space afterwards – her healing – wasn’t being supported by society or the government, because male violence is so normalized,” she continued on saying.
“So we had to do something more, not just the therapy. We have to change society, hearts and minds. It started off because on International Women’s Day 10 years ago, there wasn’t much happening. It wasn’t really known and we felt that we had to make a critical mass. We’ve got women here that represent all walks of life, from all over England, from Bolivia, from Eritrea. We’ve got variety. I believe that in our creativity and our self-organizing, we will end domestic violence,” she added.
Leader of the Women’s Equality party, Sophie Walker, posted pictures from the march on her Twitter, and she said: “I am a pro-choice, pro-quotas, end-demand, end-violence against women and girls feminist. And I’m not seeking male approval. Proud to march today.”
Student Ann Samuel from London, who attended the march, said: “It’s about awareness and women raising their voices and making themselves heard. I think more needs to be done against domestic abuse, domestic violence for women. They say when one woman stands up, they stand up for all women. Services are being cut and we can’t let that happen. It affects everyone one way or another so being here makes a difference.”
A global pandemic:
In 2007, the march was created to fight against the “global pandemic” of male violence against women. A group of black women started it hoping to bring together women and girls from across the UK and the world. Its goal is to create a diverse groups fighting violence against women.
Several attendees wore red to voice their solidarity with women’s struggles globally.
The protest came after International Women’s Day and followed the Women’s March which attracted millions on to the streets all over the world.