WOMEN UNIFYING ACROSS SECTORS CALL #TIMESUP ON SEXUAL HARRASSMENT

March 08, 2018

In the last few months, issues such as sexual harassment have entered the public / media consciousness in unprecedented ways.  Women have said #MeToo and called Time’s Up on abuse.

 

As women activists have joined with women from the entertainment industry, we have also witnessed and experienced new spaces of solidarity and connection. We have come together to share experiences, ideas and platforms. We have reflected, reimagined and organised. From meetings in women’s organisations to walking together on red carpets, we have sought to build bridges across sectors and locations.  

 

On Sunday February 19th, 2018, 2 letters of unity were published in the Observer. One was from women working in the entertainment industry and the other from women working to address violence against women and girls. Although we had only a short window in which women could sign, we received overwhelming support from nearly 200 women. However, we know that many others want to add their names as a way of expressing their solidarity and commitment. We also know that, due to administrative errors, some names were missed off the original list (which was published in the Observer). As we want to honour all the women that wish to be included, we are publishing the list on this website. We will be updating the list regularly.

 

If you would like your name added to the activist letter, please email comms@imkaan.org.uk with MeToo in the subject line. You don’t have to work for an organisation  - but if you don’t, it would be helpful if you indicate whether you are an activist etc. Please let us know if you want your organisation’s name included.

 

In solidarity,

Marai

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Dear Sisters,


We write today as activists, organisers, advocates and campaigners working to end violence against women and girls. We work in rape crisis centres, specialist Black and ‘minority ethnic’ women’s organisations, disabled women’s organisations, refuges, helplines, advice services, women’s infrastructure organisations, community organisations, women’s campaigning groups, universities, trade unions, women’s networks, and more.


We write to you as a diverse group of women, speaking to other women, about the world that we live in, and the one that we know it is possible to create.


In the last few months we have heard a number of women speak out about their experiences of being harassed, assaulted, abused and victimised in the entertainment industry. Over and over again, we have heard stories of powerful individuals, primarily men, who have abused their positions to control women, to violate their bodies, to cause emotional harm, and to threaten their livelihoods. We know that many women have also been silenced in a myriad of ways, which include being threatened with: further abuse, public shaming, not being able to work and not being believed.


For those of us who do this work, these stories are all too familiar. We bear witness each day to the ways that adult women, young women and girls are subjected to violence in every sphere, from the home to the workplace. We know that many women are subjected to abuse, which is not only about sex and gender, but also about factors such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, disability, age, and more; and we know that this compounds the marginalisation that women have to face. We recognise that the ways in which women in the entertainment industry have been silenced, mirror the ways that women are silenced by individual perpetrators, by companies, by families, by institutions, by communities, and by the state. For each woman in the entertainment industry who has spoken out, there are thousands of women whose stories go unheard.


One in ten women in the European Union report having experienced cyber-harassment since the age of 15 and close to one in three 16-18-year-old girls say they have experienced unwanted sexual touching at school. One in five women in England and Wales have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16. The number of rapes recorded by police in England and Wales is the highest in the EU, according to official 2017 figures. On average two women are killed by their partner or ex-partner every week in England and Wales.


This needs to end.


These are not isolated incidents. This is about power and inequality; and it is systemic.


We know that as we write about our experiences some will ask us, “But what about the men?”. While our work is focused on women and girls, we acknowledge all survivors of abuse. We recognise their experiences as part of a wider system of patriarchal power which disproportionately impacts women and girls and also harms men and boys. We join with all survivors to demand change.


If this change is to happen, we need a major shift across our societies. This shift needs to be intersectional and it needs to attend to all structural inequality and oppressions.


As activists, we welcome the call from our entertainment industry sisters, to unite to call TIME on harassment and abuse. We recognise that every woman, everywhere, who has ever spoken out has been part of creating change, even when she has not been believed. We know that these conversations are not new, and that these stories are not exceptional, but the women in the entertainment industry that have spoken out have helped to push issues such as sexual harassment and rape into the public consciousness in an unprecedented way. We believe that this is a moment in time when we can harness our collective energies to dismantle the wall of silence that surrounds violence against women and girls.


To every woman afraid to walk down the streets, or take public transport, we see you. To every woman scared to go home or who is trapped at home, we hear you. To every girl and every young woman who is terrified of going to school, we are with you. To every woman who has been detained, while seeking safety, we believe you. To each and every one of you, who has been subjected to any form of harassment, abuse and/or victimisation, we say this:


We hear you. We see you. We believe you. We are with you.


We believe that it is possible to create a different world; one which is equal and just. We believe that it is possible for us to have freedom and safety wherever we are, from our homes to our workplaces. So today we come together with sisters in the entertainment industry to call TIME’S UP on sexual abuse, and other forms of abuse, harassment and victimisation.


We call on you to join us in this movement and support our work. Organisations and groups working to create systemic and long-term change in the UK are in desperate need of resourcing. A 2013 survey of European charitable foundations showed less than 5% of funds were targeted towards women. It should therefore come as no surprise that many of the organisations that have been fighting for justice and equality are chronically under-funded. As government cuts and austerity measures take their grip on our sector, many of the services that are supporting survivors are struggling to stay open.


Please contact us to find out how you can make a difference, and consider donating to Rosa’s Justice and Equality Fund today.

 

Abiola Ajibola, Activist

Adeola Iluyomade
Adwoa Kwateng- Kluvitse, Forward
Akeela Ahmed, Activist
Alison Hill
Amna Abdullatif
Amrit Wilson, Author and Activist
Anber Raz, Imkaan
Andrea Simon, End Violence Against Women Coalition
Angela Maruli, Forward
Angelina Rodriques, End Violence Against Women Coalition
Anjum Mouj, Chair of London Black Women's Project, board member of Imaan (Muslim LGBTQi group)
Anne-Marie Payne, City and Hackney Carers Centre
Arabella Gayle, Student & Activist
Aviah Sarah, Sisters Uncut
Baljit Banga, London Black Women's Project
Beverley Williams, Amadudu
Camille Kumar, Women and Girls Network
Caroline Burton
Caroline Vaux
Carys Afoko, Level Up
Cas Heron
Ceri Hayes, Gender Matters
Charlotte Kneer, Women's Aid Survivor Ambassador, Reigate and Banstead Women's Aid
Chlo Winfield, Women's Aid Survivor Ambassador
Cimone Hilton, Youth Advocate
Claire Throssell, Women's Aid Child First Campaigner and Survivor Ambassador
Clare Hyde, Astraea Project
Cris McCurley, Solicitor
Darlene Corry, Researcher & Activist
Dawn Redshaw
Dawn Thomas, Salford Women's Aid
Diana Nammi, Iranian & Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (IKWRO)
Dianne Whitfield
Dion Spence, Imkaan
Dionne Nelson, Women's Resource Centre
Dorett Jones, Imkaan
Dr Akima Thomas, Women and Girls Network
Dr Ava Kanyeredzi, University of East London
Dr Carlene Firmin MBE, University of Bedfordshire
Dr Fiona Vera Gray, Durham University
Dr Kate Cook, Manchester Metropolitan University
Dr Lisa W Kelly, University of Glasgow
Dr Maria Garner
Dr Marianna Tortell, Domestic Violence Intervention Projecct (DVIP)
Dr Marsha Scott, Scottish Women's Aid
Dr Nancy Lombard, Glasgow Caledonian University
Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, London Metropolitan University
Dr Ravi K Thiara, University of Warwick
Dr Sue Robson, Women's Rights Advocate
Dr Susan Berridge, University of Stirling
Dr. Rebecca Johnson, Women in Black
Ehinor Otaigbe, Wonderfully Made Woman
Elaine Peaker
Eleanor Lisney, Sisters of Frida
Eleri Butler, Welsh Women's Aid
Elizabeth Ackerley, Activist
Emma Ritch, Engender
Estelle Du Boulay, Rights of Women
Esua Goldsmith, Writer & Activist
Fiona Davidson, Journalist & Trade Unionist
Firoza Mohmed, Humraaz
Foloshade Alonge, The Butterflies
Francesca Jarvis
Garima Jhamb, Women's Aid
Georgina Robb, Women and Girls Network
Guddy Helevuo-Burnet, Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA)
Gurpreet Virdee, Women and Girls Network
Hannana Siddiqui
Helen Cylwik, Consultant
Hilary McCollum, Writer & Campaigner
Huda Jawad, Standing Together Against Domestic Violence
Ikamara Larasi, Activist
Ila Patel, Asha Projects
Illary Valenzuela Oblitas, Latin American Women's Rights Service (LAWRS)
Indira Purushothaman, Imkaan
Jackie Hancox
Jan Melia, Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland
Janet McDermott, Women's Aid
Jashmin Patel, Imkaan
Jayne Bullough
Jennifer Edmunds, Sisters Uncut
Jo Costello, Every Day Victim Blaming
Jo Sutcliffe
Jo Todd, Respect
Jocelyn Watson, Activist & Writer
Jodie Woodward
Joeli Brearley, Pregnant Then Screwed
Kafayat Okanlawon, Imkaan
Karen Boyle, University of Strathclyde
Karen Moore, Astraea Project
Kathleen Moss, ACMA
Kathy Williams
Katie Ghose, Women's Aid
Katie Russell
Kim Donahue, Consultant
Laura Bates, Everyday Sexism Project
Leah Cowan, Imkaan
Lee Eggleston
Lesley Painter
Lia Latchford, Imkaan
Lisa Johnson, Women's Aid
Lisa-MarieTaylor, FiLiA
Louise Harcourt, Women and Girls Network
Louise Whitfield, Public Law Specialist
Lynne Wham
Maggie Parks, Womens Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, Cornwall
Mandy Thomas, Women’s Aid Survivor Ambassador
Marai Larasi, MBE, Imkaan
Marchu Girma, Women for Refugee Women
Marie-Claire Faray, Common Cause Platform for Congolese Women
Mary Mason, Solace Women's Aid
Mary Otuko, Forward
Michelle Springer Benjamin, Women and Girls Network
Molly Ackhurst
Ms Tebussum Rashid, Sukoon Ltd
Naana Otoo-Oyortey, Forward
Nahir de la Silva, Latin American Women's Rights Service (LAWRS)
Natalia Dawkins, MBE
Natasha Walter, Women for Refugee Women
Neha Kagal, Imkaan
Nicki Norman, Women's Aid
Nicole Jacobs, Standing Together
Nina George
Nina Kelly, Activist and Consultant
Olu Amokeodo
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, U.K. Black Pride
Pragna Patel, Southall Black SIsters
Professor Aisha Gill, University of Roehampton
Professor Clare McGlynn, Durham University
Professor Liz Kelly, London Metropolitan University
Professor Nicole Westmarland, Durham University
Quinn
Rachel Krys, End Violence Against Women Coalition
Raggi Kotak, 1 Pump Court
Rahni Binjie, Imkaan
Ranjit Kaur, Campaigner
Rebecca Hitchen
Rosa Knight, Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre
Rose Ssali, Support and Action Women’s Network (SAWN)
Roz Hardie, Lewisham Disability Coalition
Rupa Sarkar, Women's Resource Centre
Ruth Atkinson, Imkaan
Sabrina Qureshi, Million Women Rise
Sadi Khan, Women's Aid Survivor Ambassador
Sally Jackson, Standing Together Against Domestic Violence
Sandie Barton, Rape Crisis, Scotland
Sandy Brindley, Rape Crisis, Scotland
Sara Kirkpatrick, Respect
Sarah Green, End Violence Against Women Coalition
Sasha Bhat, Speakers Corner Collective
Shaista Aziz
Shaista Gohir OBE, Muslim Women's Network, UK
Shamshia Ali
Sheila Coates
Shelley Johnson
Sumanta Roy, Imkaan
Susan Berridge, University of Stirling
Susie McDonald, Tender
Taranjit Chana, London Black Women's Project
The Fawcett Society
Toks Okeniyi, Forward
Tracey Ford, JAGS Foundation
Umme Imam, Angelou Centre
Verity Meeson, Women and Girls Network
Vivienne Hayes MBE, Women's Resource Centre
Yenny Aude, Latin American Women's Aid
Zahra Rasouli, Women and Girls Network
Zlahka Ahmed, Apna Haq
Zoe Gray, Women and Girls Network

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