Here we publish a leaflet produced by ROSA- Socialist Feminist movement for a protest after Natalie McNally’s horrific murder.
We stand in solidarity with the family and friends of Natalie Mc Nally and all who knew her. We share your grief and sorrow at her loss, the fourth woman to be killed in her home in Northern Ireland in 2022 in a brutal and senseless act. Natalie was the second pregnant woman killed in December after Ailish Walsh was murdered in London. We also stand in solidarity with everyone impacted by all forms of gender based violence.
Rising Gender Violence
The rise in violence against women is harrowing. We see a backlash against #metoo and well financed online influencers like Andrew Tate target young men, seeking to normalise violence against women by pushing a dangerous narrative that women are objects to be controlled by men. Verbal and physical abuse of young women in intimate relationships has increased.
- Globally 81,000 women and girls were killed in 2020, a majority at the hands of a partner or family member — an average of one death every 11 minutes.
- 16 women have been killed North and South since the murder of Ashling Murphy.
- Women’s Aid state that financial control is a growing aspect of abuse.
The response from governments has been woeful. Stormont assembly parties have not even followed through on the promise, won by women workers at the former Regina Coeli hostel, to open expanded services for women across the North. The main parties don’t address the lack of housing or low pay – all of which are barriers to escape for people who experience domestic abuse. They have shied away from implementing factual, LGBTQ+ inclusive and consent based sex and relationship education in schools. These measures are needed immediately.
Gender violence here and internationally has rocketed in the pandemic. Now, economic crisis, uncertainty and the cost of living crisis fuel it further.
We have also recently learned that 9 PSNI officers were sacked following domestic abuse or sexual assault investigations and the Met police are investigating 800 serving officers for abuse. We cannot rely on these institutions to tackle gender violence. Instead, taking our inspiration from the recent global wave of feminist struggles against gender violence and femicide, we must urgently build active movements of solidarity and struggle against all forms of sexism, misogyny and LGBTQ+ phobia in our workplaces, schools, universities and communities that bring ordinary people of all ages and genders together.
Toxic masculinity being ramped up
While sexism and misogyny are rampant, they are not innate! Just like racism and transphobia they are fostered. As a system based on prioritising profit, capitalism benefits from sexism and inequality by paying women less — or not at all — for essential care work. Predominantly female workforces in health, social care and education go above and beyond while not being paid sufficiently because it is in our “caring nature”. NHS workers and soon also teachers are striking to fight for decent pay but also to defend essential public services which are also vital for victims and survivors of gender violence. The objectification of women and harmful gender norms impact us in our daily lives.
Whether it is the ingrained sexism women experience every day, intimate partner abuse or femicide our answer is the same: no more! We will no longer tolerate it. The perpetuation of sexism serves only those who gain from dividing ordinary people. The brave masses in Iran have shown that violence against women can unite people of all genders in a common struggle that challenges the entire brutal system.
It is also clear that we have to step up the active struggle to end gender violence, and we have to do this now! That means building solidarity that proactively takes on backward ideas and the system that fosters them and pressures the establishment for real action to combat gender based violence.
What kind of feminism do we need?
A feminism of struggle
From the right to vote, to equal pay, to marriage equality and abortion rights – every right we have came from trade union, feminist and LGBTQ+ movements, strikes and struggle.
A feminism that’s anti-capitalist
A system for the profits of the super-rich, and the war-mongers, that has homelessness, low-pay, exploitation and environmental degradation everywhere, is the enemy of freedom and equality. This is not about feminising the ruling elite – we have to tear down all inequality and injustice – capitalism must go.
International Socialist Feminism
Socialist feminism is about building a united movement to end the private ownership of wealth and resources because while profit remains the driving force, the needs of people and planet cannot be met. Our movement is an international one and we link with others in struggle around the world – from the masses in Iran to the workers in France.
A feminism for solidarity
An injury to one is an injury to all – we are strongest when we stand united with all the exploited and oppressed of the world in a multi-gendered, multi-racial working class movement of solidarity.