Rape Protest – Flash Mob #ARapistInYourPath

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On Saturday 8th February 2020 Manchester Feminist Network, Lancashire Resisters, Make More Noise organised a performance of the Chilean flash mob ‘Rapist in Your Path.’  We were joined by women from all over the north west, women came as individuals or as representatives from various women’s organisations, including Trafford Rape Crisis.

Women met at our regular meeting place, The Friend’s Meeting House, where we hired the largest room available.  Our patient choreographers took us through the moves and lyrics until we were word perfect and dancing in sync.  It’s no mean feat to get 50 women to learn a 10 verse song with corresponding dance moves in just over an hour.  All credit and thanks goes to ‘K’ and ‘S’ for your clear instruction and for calming our nerves!

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According to crime recording 1,538 women & girls a week are raped but most do not report at all.

 

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Our esteemed choreographers.

 

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Conviction rate for rape is a shocking 3%

Practice complete, more banners and women appeared and we made our way to Emmaline, in a procession.

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Emmeline Pankhurst Statue

Wearing blindfolds and purple and green – the colours of the suffragette movement, we performed the flash mob three times.  We received enthusiastic support from the public, who were present, some of them joined us.  The video has since been viewed thousands of times on multiple social media platforms, in fact 13 000 times on twitter alone.  During our performance, women gave out leaflets providing information on rape and the justice system.  The leaflet also listed organisations and helplines.  For info. see bottom of this article.

TRCSpecial thanks goes out to the man who read about our protest plans on twitter and came over to lend his support as well as a generous £60 donation.  We’ve since donated it to Trafford Rape Crisis who will put it to excellent use.

We wrote about the reasons why we were performing our flash mob, in our last blog.You can read more about what has been happening locally and nationally there.

If you are considering putting together a flash mob in your city or town, feel free to contact us for advice – manchesterfeministnetwork@riseup.net.  The feeling of sisterhood and solidarity from coming together for a shared task is incredibly inspiring.  No flash mob will bring an end to violence against women and girls, but every time we speak out, women will see they are not alone, that there is support available and that women are angry and determined to hold the system and power structures to account.

And The Rapist Is You!

The patriarchy is a judge

that judges us for being born

and the punishment we get

is the violence you don’t see

 

The patriarchy is a judge

that judges us for being born

and the punishment we get

is the violence that WE see

 

It’s femicide

It’s prostitution

Domestic Violence

Violation

 

And the fault wasn’t mine, not where I was, not how I dressed

And the fault wasn’t mine, not where I was, not how I dressed

And the fault wasn’t mine, not where I was, not how I dressed

And the fault wasn’t mine, not where I was, not how I dressed

 

And the rapist is you

And the rapist is you

 

It’s the cops

The judges

The State

The council

 

El estado opresor es un macho violador

El estado opresor es un macho violador

 

And the rapist is you

And the rapist is you

 

Working Class girls in care

Groomed and abused

How is it that we see

the same excuses being used?

 

And the rapist is you!

And the rapist is you!

And the rapist is you!

And the rapist is you!

 

Helplines:  Trafford Rape Crisis 0800 783 4608, Manchester Rape Crisis 0161 273 4500, Independent Choices 0161 636 7525, St Marys Sexual Assault Referral Centre 0161 276 6515

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s been 2 1/2 years since we last posted to the website but behind the scenes the Manchester Feminist network has been gathering pace and size.  Women’s rights and safety have been increasingly under attack and women have been taking notice.  We have been meeting, plotting and campaigning locally and we have been collaborating with other grassroots organisations across the United Kingdom.

Next Saturday 8th of February 2020, women from all over the UK will be gathering in Manchester to perform And The Rapist is You as a flash mob.  The protest chant was originally put together by our Chilean sisters, in November last year.  The video went viral and has since been performed by women all over the globe.  You can watch performances by sisters in Chile, Mexico City, Berlin, New York, London and Paris by clicking through to this compilation by The Guardian. Next Saturday it will be Manchester’s turn to take up the baton and we invite  you to join us in standing in solidarity with all the women who have been raped across the globe whilst the authorities have either looked the other way, or actively facilitated male sexual violence against women and girls.

The performance is well timed, since the recent investigation into the Manchester care home grooming scandal by Jennifer Williams is foremost on this city’s mind.  Her article for the Manchester Evening News told of how paedophiles were allowed to pick up girls from care homes ‘in plain sight’ of council staff. Our city’s vulnerable girls were raped and abused and yet it was their behaviour and decision making under scrutiny by police and carers, whilst their abusers were at liberty to act with impunity.  Indeed, the details of what happened to these children, whose basic needs were so grossly neglected, continued to be ignored for 15 years until a review was finally demanded and action has been forced.

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On Saturday we will be remembering Victoria Agoglia and all the girls who were failed by this city’s power structures who should have protected them. We will be standing in solidarity with the 18 year old British girl gang raped & vilified in Cyprus.  We will be angry about the CPS’s failure to prosecute, which has according to Julie Bindel effectively decriminalised rape in England and Wales and we will be reflecting on our own experiences and those of our loved ones.

People protest after a ruling outside the Famagusta District Court in Paralimni, Cyprus, on Dec. 30, 2019.

For more details follow this this link and add yourself to the event.

E mail us on manchesterfeministnetwork@riseup.net or join us on Facebook here.

 

Northern Women March against Male Violence

Women, come and join us in making a stand against Male Violence!March poster coloured

On 1st July from 4pm Women of Manchester will march against male violence. We will gather outside Central Library. Afterwards from 6pm there will be a fundraising event at 3 Minute Theatre in Afflecks Palace, Oldham St. to raise money for Safety4sisters, a local charity who secures greater protection, safety and support for women experiencing gender violence with no recourse to public funds or facing barriers due to immigration status.

Male violence against women and girls is endemic and we want to come together to shout loudly ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN MUST STOP! Violence against women remains a big concern.

Violence against women take many forms including but not limited to physical violence, controlling behaviour, domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse, the production of pornography, prostitution, honour-based violence, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

In 2017 alone between January and May 61 women are suspected to have been killed by men in the UK. This equates to one woman dead every 2.5 days.  17 of the 22 people confirmed dead in the Manchester terrorist attack were women and girls Whilst not to deny or denigrate the lives of the 5 men that were also taken, it is essential that we also view the attack as an attack on women.

Austerity cuts have had a massive impact on Violence against Women. In England and Wales two women a week still die from domestic violence, yet 34 refuges have closed under the Conservative government. In 2016 2/3rds of survivors were turned away from refuges. In the same year more women died in prison then have ever been reported. With Tax Credits now capped at two children, survivors will have to prove they’ve been raped to receive benefits for a third child.

The criminal justice system in the UK fails women experiencing violence time and time again. Although huge progress has been made over the past thirty years to change laws, develop policies and guidance with the criminal justice agencies (police, crown prosecution service, court systems) to better address violence against women, there remains a disconnect between statements of intent and what is seen in day-to-day practice.

In April 2017 a bill to end VAWG became UK law. This new law requires the government to set a timeline for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention and to report annually on its progress. However the UK pledged to implement the Istanbul convention 6 years ago, and this has not been ratified yet. Once implemented, the Istanbul Convention will protect women’s refuge housing and domestic abuse services across the UK and will tackle issues including sexual violence and FGM. The convention works by preventing violence, protecting women and girls who are experiencing violence and prosecuting violence. We call on the government to ratify this convention.

Domestic abuse affects one in four women. An estimated 4.6m women have experienced domestic abuse at some point since the age of 16. Domestic abuse often leaves victims with reproductive consequences too – including gynaecological disorders, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy difficulties  and premature births. Domestic abuse has significant psychological consequences for victims, including anxiety, depression, suicidal behaviour, low self-esteem, inability to trust others, flashbacks, sleep disturbances and emotional detachment.

Through coming together on Saturday 1st July, we will be able to speak loudly against these atrocities and ensure that public pressure is put onto the state, holding them to account in order to end Violence Against Women.

Women Up North

MFN Women Up NorthWe invite women to join Manchester Feminist Network on Saturday 1st March to celebrate International Women’s Day! At this free event at Friends Meeting House we will host a variety of workshops, including Singing, Lindyhop dance class, Feminist Avengers Creative Activism, Issues affecting Lesbian and Bisexual Women seeking asylum, Feminism and Religion, and various Craftivism activities where you can make feminist and peace related crafts!
We will be selling cakes, bags and badges. News from Nowhere Women’s Radical bookshop will be selling books and we will feature a performance from the WAST choir. If you have childcare requirements or want more information please email manchesterfeministnetwork@riseup.net or find us on facebook. Hope to see you there!

History of Manchester Feminist Network

Formed in April 2010

Monthly meetings ever since and have been attending demos, running campaigns and spreading positive feminist ideals throughout Manchester.

In October 2010 MFN attended the Million Women Rise Manchester March, organised by an MFN founding member, Louise.

 

As well as frequent socials, the group has held discussions on

  • sexualisation of children
  • women in sport,
  • growing up as a woman
  • beauty contests
  • women in the media

 

December saw the first MFN organised action; covering up sexist and degrading magazines in WHSmiths

 

We have screened and held a discussion on the Demand Change film about prostitution, attending Reclaim The Night and Mothers Against Violence demos, had talks from Wast (Women Asylum Seekers Together).

Other activities are flyer designing, banner making, blogging and stealth stickering.

In March we ran our first external workshop at 100 years 100 voices, Manchester’s International Women’s day Celebration at the Town Hall.

Manchester Feminist Network are hosting Women Up North on 7th May 2011, we hope to see you there!