Jenny Lennox writes about Waltham Forest’s End Violence Against Women group‘s April protests across the borough…
On Saturday 1st April, over 170 women, girls and men across Waltham Forest joined protests calling for an end to male violence.
These actions were timed to coincide with the #KillTheBill actions, since this piece of legislation will massively restrict protest, when protest is key to keeping the issue of violence against women on the political agenda.
In Leyton, Leytonstone, Walthamstow, Highams Park and Chingford, women-led protests began at 1pm. Yellow was a theme throughout, with those joining the protests donning the colour as an act of solidarity.
Protestors also brought yellow flowers in memory of the 25 women killed by men in London in just the last year – and the four black women killed by police action in London since 1985.
Women arrived with their own placards filled with a variety of messages, often naming those who had lost their lives at the hands of men. People came along feeling they needed to speak up, and many of the conversations on the day were about what we needed to do to keep this issue being discussed.
The protests lasted around an hour and were quite emotional, as the names of the London women killed in the last year were read out. It was important to have the space to stop and consider what is happening in our society, as well as demonstrating the anger many of us feel about so little being done to prevent these deaths.
On average, one women is killed every three days. Convictions for rape are at their lowest recorded levels. In the last few weeks and months, the whole of the UK has been forced to confront these facts – and the reality that most women have a story of sexual harassment or assault. This is our lived experience, and many of us have had enough.
We don’t want to be silent about it, we want to call out the behaviour and ensure systemic change so we can finally end this reality, or at least begin that process. Those attending the protests know that this struggle will continue – nothing has changed since the death of Sarah Everard that brought so many people out onto the streets.
We were pleased to be part of this movement to reclaim our streets, and it is likely that future actions will follow.
To find out more about future action, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org