Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/721/14641
The Socialist 6 June 2012 |
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Fighting cuts and sexism at Newcastle's Slutwalk
Lizi Gray, Newcastle Socialist Party
Seventy men and women of all ages took part in the second annual Newcastle SlutWalk on 2 June.
The SlutWalk movement began in Toronto, Canada, in 2011 when police officer Michael Sanguinetti gave a university talk on personal safety. His advice to women was: 'if you don't want to get raped then don't dress like sluts.' Sanguinetti's comment sparked international outrage.
"Fight the power, change the system - what we need is feminism!" was the favourite chant of this year's SlutWalkers. Wearing everything from hoodies to hot pants and high heels to high-vis jackets, they were marching against victim blaming and sexual discrimination.
When a Christian preacher, who had caused trouble with the SlutWalkers last year, tried to disrupt the march, co-organisers Kathryn Royal and Bobby Crannie both gave amazing speeches about street harassment.
When we reached the civic centre, Socialist Party Northern region secretary Elaine Brunskill spoke about the damage to women's rights done by the Con-Dem government. On average 200 women a day are turned away from charities such as Women's Aid due to budget cuts. Dozens of maternity wards have faced closures and women have been especially hard-hit in public sector job cuts.
The march concluded with an open megaphone session, allowing marchers to share their own stories and opinions.
Marchers left after a high-spirited day of activism, many seeing the need for a socialist alternative to stop gender inequality.