Sheffield marches against sexism and cuts

Victoria Wainwright, Sheffield Socialist Party

Over 200 women and men demonstrated in Sheffield city centre on 28 April against sexism, especially in protest at the Con-Dem government and Labour council cuts to women’s services in the city and nationally.

The protest in Sheffield followed the sentencing of Sheffield United footballer Ched Evans for rape, and the rumours surrounding the Sheffield United game on that day that a small section of fans were planning a ‘tribute’ to the convicted player at some point during the match.

In fact the tribute turned out to be no more than a very small number of fans attempting a chant that failed to gather any momentum and was booed down by many others. Evans and another footballer had targeted a woman who was too drunk to consent on a night out in Rhyl, North Wales and raped her in a hotel room.

The Evans case has sparked a flourish of sexism from some sections of the capitalist media and some football supporters, involving blaming the woman for the rape.

Victim blaming

The rise of victim blaming in rape cases led many women in 2011 to stage ‘slutwalks’ in protest at the blaming of victims rather than the rapist. Further slutwalks are planned in 2012 in London and Newcastle.

Sheffield Socialist Party women took part in the demonstration, selling pamphlets and explaining why sexism is inherent to the capitalist system. Working class women need to fight back against sexist media lies, the cuts to services that affect women disproportionately and for a socialist society where women and men are equal.