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Rape Crisis South London’s Feminist Moments of 2016

As another busy year comes to an end, we wanted to share with you some of our highlights from the past 12 months. Whilst 2016 has been a challenging year in many ways, it has also seen women from across the world unite, stand together and challenge stereotypes, inequality and injustice.

We hope reliving the moment’s below leave you feeling empowered and inspired to continue demonstrating the same determination, strength, creativity, resilience and leadership in 2017… because we’re really going to need it!

We know this list is not exhaustive and so let us know your favourite feminist moments of 2016 by tweeting us @RASASC_London under #feministmoments2016

  1. February 2016 saw the first ever #itsnotok Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness week in the UK. The awareness week was introduced to create spaces for the general public, statutory and third sector organisations to break the silence around sexual violence, to increase awareness and understanding as well as facilitate discussions on how we can prevent abuse from being perpetrated in the first place.
  1. March this year saw the release of ‘I’d Just like to be free’, a stunning and powerful video featuring young black and Asian women, created by End Violence against Women Coalition and Imkaan to shine a light on the impact sexual harassment has on the lives of young women and how racism and sexism intersect.
  1. In May this year, the End Violence against Women Coalition (EVAW) launched their inaugural media awards to recognise the very best reporting on issues of violence against women and girls in the UK, leading the way in recognising journalism about violence against women and girls that is accurate, sensitive, and that help to create positive public debate and change.
  1. Rio saw so many incredible feminist moments and athletic performances from women, showing that women’s bodies are strong and powerful and can be acted through, not purely as an object to be looked at or acted upon. We felt this article helpfully said everything we wanted to.
  1. September saw one of many protests outside Yarls Wood, calling for the release of the women detained there and the permanent closure of the detention centre. Since it was opened in 2001, Yarls Wood has long been criticised about conditions at the centre, with several women disclosing experiencing sexual abuse by guards. There have already been five independent reviews into its practices to date, yet the centre remains. What protesters have shown is that they aren’t giving up.
  1. October saw a unique and innovative collaboration of research and theatre, resulting in the amazing production ‘Might Never Happen’. The play was created by Dolls Eye Theatre, an all-female theatre production company and was based on Dr. Fiona Vera-Gray and Dr. Maria Garner’s research into street harassment and men’s intrusions into women’s spaces.
  1. Michelle Obama and that speech connecting with so many women’s experiences and feelings around the world, showing that a human, empathic and considerate politics is possible.
  1. October was a great month for activism where we saw women in Poland unite against anti-abortion laws, forcing the government to abandon their plans.
  1. We also saw thousands of Icelandic women leaving work at 2:38pm to protest the gender pay gap, showing that women’s voices together are powerful and can bring about real change.
  1. This brings us right up to December, to another inspiring Michelle, where MP Michelle Thomson recently spoke out about her experience of rape when she was 14. So many women and girls often feel silenced by perpetrators, family, friends and society more broadly, that when women feel able to break this silence, they create a space for other women to hear they are not alone and it is not their fault. Thank you Michelle.
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