Grief, shock and an outpouring of anger have been unleashed by the appalling abduction and murder of Sarah Everard, in London, earlier this week.
Her killing has shone a spotlight on the extent of violence, abuse and harassment that so many women face on a regular basis. In the same week that Sarah was murdered, it was reported that a staggering 97% of young women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment.
Women fear for their personal safety outside the home, and inside it are at even greater risk from violence and abuse.
One in four women will experience intimate partner abuse at some time in their lives and two women a week are killed by violent partners or ex-partners.
Such levels of harassment, violence and abuse are systemic. They are the consequence of a fundamentally unequal capitalist system that perpetuates sexism and abuse.
The solution is not to tell women that they should change their behaviour! We should be able to go where we want, when we want, to dress the way we please and to live our lives without fear of violence and harassment.
That means organising for structural change that tackles the problems at their very root.
And we should be able to protest safely without the fear of being arrested or landed with a massive fine!
We have to fight to raise awareness and challenge sexist and misogynist attitudes and behaviour. We need to fight for better street lighting; for a fully funded, safe and affordable public transport system; for more spending on support services for victims of abuse and rape; for a change in the criminal justice system that currently means only 1% of reported rapes end in conviction; for democratic community control of the police.
But we need to go further. We live in a system where a small minority owns the wealth. Where exploiting women in low-paid, precarious jobs generate enormous profits – and the unpaid work that women do in the home – saves capitalism billions of pounds every year.
Private companies which dominate and control the media, beauty, fashion, leisure and other industries reflect and promote sexist ideas about how women should look and behave and turn our bodies into commodities to make a profit.
To eliminate gender violence and abuse we need fundamental system change that takes economic and political control out of the hands of the minority that profit from gender and class inequality.
That means a united struggle of all those who face discrimination, inequality and exploitation, in the workplace and in wider society. This is what the Socialist Party is fighting for.
Let’s organise a mass movement to challenge sexism and violence against women!
- Build a united struggle for zero tolerance of sexism in our workplaces and communities. Join a trade union and build the campaign against sexual harassment in workplaces, schools, colleges and universities
- Defend the right to protest safely and the right to organise
- We need police accountability through democratic control by local people and trade unions
- No trust in pro-capitalist politicians – for a new mass workers’ party to represent the interests of the 99% not the 1%
- Fight for a socialist alternative to the sexism, inequality, and crisis of capitalism
Socialist Party national meeting: End violence against women
Fighting to end sexism – a socialist approach
- Capitalism = sexism, inequality and abuse
- Fight for system change