17 March 2021
Kathy Lowe, a socialist feminist for 45 years, puts the case for women and men fighting together.
What an irony it was to see women protesting male violence being dragged and arrested by police during the Sarah Everard vigil in London on 13 March. Even more so when a police officer was a key suspect in Sarah’s awful murder and has since been charged. Attempts to ban or disrupt a series of vigils in tribute to Sarah Everard under cover of Covid regulations were clearly part of the growing attack on the democratic right to protest in the UK.
The heartfelt cry from women triggered by the Everard case, and the subsequent public protests, have highlighted a fundamental demand originally made by the women’s movement decades ago. It said women themselves shouldn’t have to adapt their lives and curtail their freedoms in an attempt to keep safe. The onus must fall on tackling the root causes of aggression and misogyny by male predators – and men themselves must be at the centre of that effort.
Boys must grow up educated and encouraged to respect women, while men opposed to the violence should take responsibility by intervening among other men to stop it.
Women’s organisations and campaigns recognise that they can expect little protection under the law as it stands. Their safety is not regarded as a priority. Their demands, therefore, include stronger laws and stronger enforcement to deter existing predators.
Organisers of the London vigil in Clapham had not called for a women-only event and the spontaneous solidarity shown by men joining the vigil received a warm reception – perhaps a small reminder that male participation has enriched the Me Too Movement abroad and could begin to do so here.
Worth checking out this recent Guardian letter ‘It is men, not women, who are responsible for male violence’