This is a guest post by Chitra Nagarajan. Chitra is on the Southall Black Sisters management committee. SBS is a group of black women who campaign and run an advice, advocacy and resource centre in West London which provides comprehensive services to women experiencing violence, abuse and other forms of inequality.
This Saturday, Southall Black Sisters will be marching on the streets of Southall against violence against women.
Southall Black Sisters started 2013 with a protest outside the Indian High Commission. This was in response to the rape and sexual torture of a young woman on a bus in Delhi and in solidarity with the waves of feminist protest in India against the appalling levels of violence that women experience everyday of their lives. We were joined by over 800 women and men.
We continue to stand in solidarity with our feminist sisters in India but also believe we need to focus our gaze on ourselves and our communities. We need to challenge the values and norms that enable violence against women and girls. In Southall, as in other parts of the UK, women experience violence both within and outside the home, from family members and strangers on a daily basis.
It is time for us to hold up a mirror to our communities and to face uncomfortable truths. We often hear about women’s ‘honour’ and women’s ‘duty.’ We say: what honour keeps us silent? What duty stops us protesting?
We want to mobilise the women and men of Southall and urge all to take responsibility for the epidemic of violence against women that is endemic in our communities.
We need feminist activists to come and march with us. The feminist movement often talks about the need to ensure it is a movement for all – including for black women. In order to be truly inclusive of black women, the mainstream feminist movement needs to come to where we physically are rather than just relying that we find you.
Come to Southall and stand with us in sending out a clear message to our communities and our government that enough is enough; freedom is our right!
Saturday 23 March
Assemble from 12pm outside Southall Black Sisters, 21 Avenue Road, Southall, UB1 3BL
Rally from 3pm on The Green, UB2 4BG
People of all genders are welcome.
Image shows a night scene with a group of women from Southall Black Sisters protesting outside the Indian High Commission in London. They are holding banners, signs and a megaphone. One sign reads “Don’t tell your daughter not to go out. Ask your son to behave & respect”. Shared courtesy of Chitra Nagarajan.