Remembering victims of violence by candle-light

National Gallery Gathering

Last night I went along to Trafalgar Square to join many other women (representing Million Women Rise, Women in Black, London Feminist Network, Object, the Women and Girls’ Network, Roshni and, of course, all representing themselves) gathered in remembrance of all women who have suffered male violence. We were there to mark the United Nations Elimination of Violence Against Women Day, share our stories and hope for a future free from violence.


By: Sarah Barnes, 26.11.2009 | Comments (0)
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Men! Wear a White Ribbon today!

White Ribbon Campaign

As well as being the United Nations Elimination of Violence Against Women Day, today is also White Ribbon Day – a day set up by the White Ribbon Campaign. Each year the campaign urges men and boys to wear a white ribbon for one week, starting today, to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women. Wearing a white ribbon acts as a personal pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.

The campaign is an interesting and much needed one because it takes the onus of responsibility surrounding male violence against women away from women and sees men as part of the solution. Here is some information from the campaign’s educational material;

Why violence against women is also a men’s issue:

  • *Men are the main perpetrators of violence
  • *The lives of partners, friends, sisters and daughters of men are damaged by violence and abuse
  • *Men can speak out and intervene when male friends and relatives insult or attack women
  • *Men can help create a culture where the behaviour of a minority, who treat women and girls with contempt or violence, becomes unacceptable
  • *Men can examine their own behaviour and consider changes which will create a world based upon gender equality

    10 things men can do to help prevent male violence against women:

    1. 1. Realise that gender violence is a men’s issue that affects women we care about
    2. 2. Never remain silent – confront abusive behaviour of other men
    3. 3. Understand how our own attitudes and actions may perpetuate sexism and violence – work towards changing them
    4. 4. Offer help and support if we suspect a woman is being threatened
    5. 5. Respect women and treat them as equals
    6. 6. Ally with women who are working to end all forms of gender violence
    7. 7. Speak out against homophobia
    8. 8. Educate ourselves about masculinity, gender inequality and the root causes of gender violence
    9. 9. Mentor young men about ways to be men that do not involve degrading or abusing women
    10. 10. Refuse to purchase any magazines, videos or music that portrays women in a degrading or violent manner

    Find out more on the White Ribbon Campaign website

    By: Sarah Barnes, 25.11.2009 | Comments (0)
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    We Reclaimed The Night! Part 1

    Reclaim The Night -Neon Banner

    It was with great joy and enthusiasm that myself and (soon-to-be regular Uplift blogger!) Dearbhaile Kitt attended the Reclaim The Night march on Saturday. It might seem strange to outsiders that this march protesting violence towards women would be so happy and exuberant but, for me, those emotions felt totally right.

    Along with over 2000 other women marching through central London, I was able to gain the strength to process my anger and sadness at having been harassed and sexually assaulted whilst walking alone on the streets at night (and during the day!) and evolve those feelings from fear into a powerful assertion that all women should have the right to walk the streets without being afraid.  Through our singing, dancing (the drumming group SheBoom really got us going), cheers and chants we were able to deny those who have hurt us any negative and destructive power over our bodies, minds and memories. It was a wonderful feeling of freedom, one we so seldom feel as we simply make our way from A to B.

    This amazing video from Hannah Nicklin really conjures up the empowering spirit of the evening;


    By: Sarah Barnes, 24.11.2009 | Comments (2)
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    Just a gentle reminder…


    Click to download a map of the march route here, get your marching boots on and we’ll see you there!

    By: Sarah Barnes, 21.11.2009 | Comments (0)
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    Alex Brew talks tonight at ‘Shattered’

    Asking For It Alex BrewPhotographer, writer and Uplift contributor, Alex Brew will be giving a talk tonight at the opening of new exhibition ‘Shattered’. Brew will be exhibiting and discussing images from the Asking For It project that was first shown at Ladyfest London in May 2008. To create the series of images, Brew approached men in public spaces and asked them to fully or partially undress for her and her camera. Her resulting images raised questions about objectification, sexual freedom and power relations between the genders.

    Brew will be joined by ceramicist Claudia Clare for the discussion, which runs from 7 til 9pm. Clare’s work consists of  five, giant sized, broken and mended clay pots, which were made in response to contemporary women’s stories of surviving sexual violence.

    The Shattered exhibition is a product of working with Rape Crisis, England & Wales. It runs from until the 12th of December at The Original Gallery, Hornsey Library, Haringey Park, N8 9JA. Opening times: Monday – Friday, 1-7.00pm, Saturday and Sunday, 12-4.00pm

    (Thumbnail images from Alex Brew’s website)

    By: Sarah Barnes, 19.11.2009 | Comments (0)
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    Reclaim The Night, This Saturday!

    Women of London! Women of Britain! It’s time to dust off your banner and wrap up warm, because Reclaim The Night is here again.

    Saturday 21st November will see women gather at 6.30pm at Whitehall Place, Central London for the women’s march to the Camden Centre in Kings Cross. From that point onwards there will be a mixed rally and a party until late.

    And to remind us why we still need to Reclaim the Night, a quote from RTN’s own website;

    “In every sphere of life we negotiate the threat or reality of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. We cannot claim equal citizenship while this threat restricts our lives as it does. We demand the right to use public space without fear. We demand this right as a civil liberty, we demand this as a human right.”

    Find out more at and on The F Word (where they discuss the use of the term ‘women only’ used by RTN)

    Edit: Just found this incredibly strong and moving piece from Hannah Nicklin about exactly why she will be attending the march, and why you should too.

    (Image taken from this post over on Feministing. Love the banner!)

    By: Sarah Barnes, 18.11.2009 | Comments (0)
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    Misfits – Super Powers are a Turn On

    Last night I watched E4’s new teen drama Misfits (I have no idea why… I guess I thought the idea of Skins with super-powers might be good. Trust me, it’s not)

    Misfits E4

    There is often critique about the way fantasy writers treat their female characters, much of it regarding the way the super-powers given to them fit their stereotypical role as a woman. Whilst male superheroes are going around smashing and killing and KAPOWing, female superheroes are more likely to be deflecting bullets, reading minds and becoming invisible. All whilst looking damn hawt.

    So last night, 4 of the 5 Misfits got their super-powers… and they were all pretty lame, to be honest; invisibility, mind reading, turning back time. What, no setting-things-on-fire-just-by-looking-at-them power? Oh well, that’s an E4 style budget for you…

    The power attributed to the character of Alisha really took the biscuit though. Her power was… wait for it… (more…)

    By: Sarah Barnes, 13.11.2009 | Comments (20)
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