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A Magazine for Sheffield

Conversations about gendered violence aren't going anywhere

An upcoming Festival of Debate event looks to widen the discussion on gendered violence and harassment - and what we can do to end it.

Reclaim the streets vigil devonshire green 3
Tim Dennell.

It’s been nearly three months since the death of Sarah Everard, a young woman who was allegedly killed by a Met police officer. It’s a case that re-ignited the national conversation around gendered and sexual violence, causing many women to publicly share their own experiences of harassment and violence, once again demonstrating a dangerous and continuous cycle of misogyny.

Soon after Everard’s death was confirmed, thousands of people across the country came together to mourn her and all the women like her who have lost their lives to gendered violence. These vigils were public outpourings of grief and anger that cases like Everard’s are not unique, and that they will continue to affect women if nothing is done to combat these deeply-embedded forms of violence.

Gendered violence isn't making headlines anymore, but conversations around women’s experiences of violence have not stopped.

As part of the Festival of Debate, in association with Aurelia Magazine, this discussion will continue at the Ending Gendered Violence online event on 31 May. The session will spotlight parts of the wider discussion around gendered violence that don’t always receive the same levels of attention from the masses.

With speakers from a range of diverse backgrounds, both in the public and private spheres of violence, topics that will be discussed include: the intersectionality of gendered violence and how this can manifest in different forms of oppression, what male allyship looks like, and how funding for possible solutions can be inclusive.

One of the organisations involved with this event, Our Bodies Our Streets, told Now Then why tackling gendered violence is so vital.

“We want to help create more equal cities and we believe that the only way to do so is to tackle gendered violence. It's so important to have conversations around this topic because so much of it is stigmatised or misunderstood.

"Street harassment is just another facet of gendered violence, whether it be physical or verbal, and something that can only be taken action against by attacking our society's structure of patriarchy.”

Founder of WOC Azadi Collective, Ishah Jawaid, explains that holding the space for these conversations is vital in working towards eliminating gendered violence.

"We must transform our belief systems and behaviours about gender, but also address how other forms of oppression, like race and class, harm some of us even further. Women of colour in particular are not only harmed by patriarchy, but have been let down by mainstream ‘white feminism’ that does not address our needs. I do this work because I dream of creating a radically different world, where women and girls are safe from interpersonal and structural harm."

Evie Muir, a domestic abuse specialist at SAYiT, adds that keeping up "a consistent and relentless conversation around gender-based violence across platforms such as Festival of Debate is imperative because still, the severity and frequency of this endemic issue is underestimated and minimised."

"To put it into perspective, on average the police receive over 100 calls relating to domestic abuse every hour, yet when tragedies as a result of gender-based violence receive media attention, the general response is one of shock and disbelief.

This is because we reserve conversations around violence against women and marginalised genders to specific international days of action or remembrance.

"The only way we can convey the sheer scale of gendered abuse and exploitation is to ensure we raise awareness at the same rate that it is experienced, ensure that the voices of survivors and victims of marginalised communities are offered an equal platform to do so, and create an environment where gender-based violence is seen as a public problem - where the solutions lie in individual, societal, institutional and state responsibility."

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