Male violence is the force which polices and upholds patriarchy. All systems of oppression require violence and fear to create, cement and uphold.
As a socialist feminist, with a radical understanding of gender, and class consciousness shaped by struggle I try to actively see “race”. I see my whiteness more each day as I listen to how Black women see their blackness. I see the reality of policing “race” a social construct into oppressive systems of hierarchy which are a material reality. We have to reject colour blindness if we are embracing love and fighting hate. I see how class interacts with ethnicity and with gender, with wealth, strength, health, ability, education or lack thereof. I see how power is concentrated, how privilege replicates itself and how we are robbed of the use of the power that we, each of us, actually own.
And the spectrum of male violence, in all it’s forms and permutations, is what I will be marching against tonight.
I will march for Fatim Jawara who died aged 19 trying to cross the Mediterranean. She should be known for her goalkeeping skills, not for her death. Poverty is violence and if sisters flee poverty the back way or they flee war they are our sisters still.
I will march for Becky Godden, still being defined by things she did for money during times in her life, not as a daughter taken. Stolen by male violence from her parents and those who loved her, aged just 20. Becky, whose parents fought for justice in a way no parent should be forced to. The violence perpetuated by the criminal justice system and by the media to her and her loved ones after her death is what we march against too.
I will march for Sheila Holt found fit for work while lying in a coma, Sheila died aged just 48. Violence perpetuated by our state has killed so many women like Sheila. Our lost sisters.
I will march for Sarah Reed. Also murdered by the state. Preventable death is a vile euphemism. Lessons are never learned. When treatment is withheld, when a survivor of police brutality is sick with fear and anguish, when she is left to die, it is murder. She deserved more.
I will shout against the street harassers who police public space and treat our bodies as public property. And I will fight against those men who wait till we are in private spaces to do us harm. And I will remember all the women who can’t march because they’ve been taken from us.
All of us will march for these women and for other lost sisters, known and unknown. And for those who can’t march because they are rightfully scared of public spaces at night, those who can’t march because they’ve no spoons left after surviving each day. And for those who choose not to march but are also surviving patriarchy whether they have been given the tools to name their struggles or not.
It will be cold, and I’ll be tired and my heart will be worn, but I won’t be conflicted nor divided. Time and space, seeking and learning, it has brought clarity and purpose. I’m ready to be a part of our reclaimation. And I can’t wait to see all of the wonderful women who can be here and to celebrate all we are achieving with you.