Not long to go now until Million Women Rise 2009!
I was lucky enough to take part in the first ever Million Women Rise march for International Women's Day last year and it was one of the most exciting and positive experiences I've ever had. Around 5,000 women and girls took part in the march and rally in Central London. Knowing that I would be attending alone I volunteered to be a steward and was one of a group of women in change of the front section of the march, setting up at Trafalgar Square and organising the queue for the loos during the rally. This year I'll be marching with a friend and hopefully meeting up with several more through the day so decided against stewarding and am looking forward to being able to experience even more of the march.
Why is Million Women Rise needed? We're marching in protest at the fact that women are still not able to live without the fear of violence - whether it's from partners, relatives, men they don't even know, women continue to be attacked and abused in many different ways. Despite this, their stories are ignored, they're accused of 'asking for it', they're denied access to facilities which could help them - such as Rape Crisis Centres, which currently offer support to only 1 in 4 areas of Britain.
Each year 3 million women in the UK experience rape, domestic violence and abuse. This needs to change. A statement from the Million Women Rise Coalition says:
'We believe that every woman and child has a right to live free from violence and that ongoing violence devastates not only the lives of the individuals directly affected but also the communities of which they are part.'
Million Women Rise is supported by a number of women's groups, networks and charities. Maybe you've already decided to take part in this year's march but if you haven't I urge you to consider it. I really do think it's going to be an even more amazing experience than last year and am hoping for even greater numbers.
SATURDAY 7 MARCH 2009
12PM MEET AT PORTMAN SQUARE (Nearest Tubes: Bond St, Marble Arch and Baker St)
MARCH ROUTE: OXFORD ST, REGENT ST, PICCADILLY!
RALLY AND CELEBRATION: 2.30- 5PM: WATERLOO PLACE (Nearest Tube: Piccadilly
Circus, Leicester Square, Charing Cross)
COACHES, BUSES, MOBILITY ACCESS -
DROP OFF: PARK LANE (PARK SIDE) AND BAKER STREET
PICK UP: PALL MALL - WEST REGENT STREET
Million Women Rise blog and Facebook group
Facts about violence against women from Amnesty International
Fawcett Society Justice For Rape Victims campaign
End Violence Against Women
The Map of Gaps