Archive for April 2nd, 2008
* Sexual history still being introduced at hearings
* New book reveals judicial attitudes to legislation
Judges have undermined a law intended to stop defence lawyers cross-examining women in rape cases about their sexual history, by continuing to insist on their discretion to allow it, a new book discloses.
Interviews with 17 judges in London and Manchester found that some insisted they still had a wide discretion to allow questions on sexual history, although the law was changed in 2000 to impose severe limits on questioning.
One judge described the provision as “pretty pathetic because it’s get-roundable”.
Another said: “I’m not one for being unduly fettered. I’ve been appointed to do a job on the basis that I have a certain amount of judgment, and to be fettered or shackled by statutory constraints I don’t think helps anybody.”
The conviction rate in rape cases remains stubbornly low – only 5.7% of cases reported to police, despite a series of legal reforms aimed at boosting it.
The limits on introducing sexual history were intended to prevent defence lawyers from feeding into jury prejudices about rape by making the complainant seem less deserving.
Sexual Assault and the Justice Gap: A Question of Attitude, to be published by Hart Publishing on April 15, puts much of the blame for the low conviction rate on myths and stereotypes about the crime.
The authors say the entire justice process is affected, from the initial decision to report the rape to police, through to conviction or acquittal by a jury.
The authors – Jennifer Temkin, professor of law at Sussex University, and Barbara Krahe, professor of social psychology at the University of Potsdam in Germany – found stereotypical views about rape were widespread among potential jurors.
Their survey of more than 2,000 members of the public aged 18-69 showed people tended to blame the woman for bringing the attack on herself, see a case where the man had sex with a woman without her consent when she was drunk as not a “real rape”, and downplay the seriousness of having forced sex when the perpetrator was the woman’s former partner.
The views were also found to be common when the authors outlined a range of rape scenarios to British undergraduate law students in their final year and a group of British graduates doing professional law training, the lawyers and judges of the future.
The interviews with the judges took place in 2003 as part of a 2006 Home Office research study but their comments, reproduced in the book, have never before been published.
A high court judge told the Guardian that the extent to which lawyers should be allowed to ask questions about a woman’s past sexual behaviour was still “a big issue” for judges.
The limits on questions about sexual history came into force in December 2000. But in 2001 a case called R v A went to the House of Lords, in which the defendant claimed that he had previously had sex with the complainant and that this was relevant information for the jury in deciding whether she had consented on this occasion.
The law lords’ judgment gave judges only slightly more leeway to allow questioning in such cases, but the authors say some took it as having completely restored their discretion. Six of the 17 judges interviewed were “plainly undeterred and, regardless of the new legislation, were not prepared to forgo their discretion in these matters”, they say.
They add: “Progressive law reform in the area of rape has been undermined by judicial interpretation and … some judges are not entirely free from the same stereotypical beliefs and assumptions held by members of the public.”
One judge said: “Judges tend to take a reasonably generous view when the question of past sexual history is considered. Maybe I’m talking personally, I don’t know. But I get the impression, talking amongst colleagues, certainly here, and occasionally at sex courses [training for judges on dealing with sex crimes] and so on, that’s the general approach.”
Temkin said: “The way I see the sexual history legislation is as a very laudable attempt to deal with these stereotypes which get in the way of looking at cases on the facts.
“The design was a good one that was driven by the best of motives, which was to tackle these stereotypes. If the legislation isn’t implemented in the way that is intended, that goal is being undermined.”
For the last three weeks the New Statesman has been highlighting the funding crisis facing the Rape Crisis sector. As an isolated problem it would be serious enough but, unfortunately, it serves to highlight problems for violence against women more broadly.
A staggering three million women face sexual or domestic violence, forced marriage, trafficking or other violence every year in the UK and many more have experienced abuse in the past or as a child. So even if we haven’t directly experienced violence ourselves, we all know someone – a friend, family member or work colleague – who has. Statistically, the majority of this violence is perpetrated by men against women, which is why it is a gender issue.
The impact of violence is deeply damaging, ranging from cuts and bruises to serious injury or death in the most extreme cases. It causes long-term emotional and psychological harm. Sexual violence can also lead to forced pregnancy and STDs. The direct cost to the economy of domestic violence, just one form of violence, each year in England and Wales is £6 billion. So as a society we are paying a very high price. Violence is also a major driver of women’s inequality.
This is why such a diverse group including Amnesty, Rape Crisis, the TUC, Women’s Aid and the Women’s Institute have come together under the End Violence Against Women (EVAW) coalition. Every year we assess how Government Departments are addressing violence against women and publish the results in our Making the Grade? reports. Today, we are publishing our findings for 2007. Whilst some departments score highly, most notably the Crown Prosecution Service, others continue to fail to take this issue seriously.
The Government’s overall score this year is a very disappointing 2 out of 10, the same as last year. The report welcomes initiatives such as Specialist Domestic Violence Courts and Sexual Assault Referral Centres but shows that the overall approach is patchy and mostly focused on the criminal justice system.
This is short-sighted. As the New Statesman Rape Crisis campaign has highlighted, the vast majority of victims (around 80%) do not report to the police, so their case never enters the criminal justice system. Rape Crisis Centres, domestic violence refuges and other specialist services offer routes out of violence and support for women through the justice system that enable them to move on with their lives. And yet, there is a postcode lottery in the provision of these life-saving services. It is astonishing that a third of local authorities across the UK don’t have such services at all. Furthermore, fewer than one in ten have specialist services for ethnic minority women (addressing issues like forced marriage) and where they do exist they are threatened with significant funding cuts or even closure (as in the case of Southall Black Sisters). More detail on this issue can be found in Map of Gaps, our joint report with the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Indeed the Commission has issued stark warnings to the worst performing local authorities that it will take legal action under the Gender Equality Duty if they don’t improve.
But the funding crisis is not the only problem. Conviction rates for all forms of violence against women are still very low, so perpetrators go unpunished. Furthermore, there is no plan of action to actually prevent violence from happening. Where are the public campaigns to challenge attitudes that tolerate violence? Why is there no requirement on schools to address issues like healthy relationships or consent to sex when surveys consistently show unhealthy attitudes justifying and condoning violence amongst young men in particular?
The good initiatives are being undermined by the lack of a strategic approach which is why EVAW members are united in calling for a cross-departmental strategy to address violence against women. This would make the connections between different forms of violence and ensure that all Government departments play their part. Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are now advocating a strategic approach. In Scotland, the Government has been developing just such an approach for some time.
Some Whitehall Departments are leading the way. The CPS consistently scores highest in Making the Grade? because it is developing a Violence Against Women Strategy (to be published shortly).
As a signatory to the UN Beijing Platform for Action, the UK is required to implement national action plans to work towards ending violence against women. This summer in New York, Government Ministers will be reporting on progress on tackling discrimination against women to the UN. This must be the year it can report real action on these commitments and send the message to women that violence against women is a priority.
Download a copy of the report http://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/documents/EVAW%20MTG%20UK.pdf
This is the most recent in a series of reports that are part of the New Statesman campaign to secure proper funding for Rape Crisis centres. Other articles have included:
* Rape should be top of the agenda http://www.newstatesman.com/200803270060
* An undeclared war on women http://www.newstatesman.com/200803240001
And others – see http://www.newstatesman.com/subjects/sexual-violence-and-rape-crisis
To sign the petition to the Prime Minister
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to provide proper funding for Rape Crisis. We commend the invaluable work of Rape Crisis in bringing much needed support to people affected by sexual violence often years after the offences have taken place. We note with sadness that in 1984 there were 68 affiliated members of Rape Crisis (England and Wales) but now there are just 38. We believe this is a failure of successive administrations and endorse the New Statesman’s campaign to secure proper funding from the government so existing Rape Crisis centres can continue their work and that new centres can open
Go to http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/RapeCrisis/#detail (to date only 780 have signed)
A £70,000 grant is required from central government to establish the centre which will offer emotional support, forensic tests and medical treatment for victims of sexual assault and rape.
The Echo’s Action on Rape campaign has the backing of local police but Echo editor Jon Grubb said the paper was struggling to get the local health trust on board too.
He said: “While the police said they are happy to fund it, the primary care trust said they cannot afford it. The running costs are £35,000 per year so the PCT are looking at a section of that £35,000. It’s peanuts. But they seem unable to provide us with an answer why they cannot commit. Until you can commit to providing the on-going costs, you are not going to get the funding from the government. The police are supporting it – they believe it’s the right thing to do. Generally speaking the PCT has not said ‘we’re against it’ but they won’t commit to it. In terms of cost, the PCT can afford it out of its own money. They have got £940m (annual budget). The Government will part-fund the set up costs but thereafter the running costs have to be funded by local agencies like the police, primary care trust and council. Their own advice is that every region should have one.”
Since the Action on Rape campaigned was launched the Echo has been contacted by charities and victims who have all backed the plan. Jon said these centres helped improve conviction rates and as such the plan was being strongly backed by the police.
“The number (of offenders) that even gets caught in the first place is very small,” he added. The police believe a rape crisis centre will have an impact upon their ability to gather evidence and encourage more people to come forward and to be able to get a conviction. It’s quite an important issue in Lincolnshire. Our campaign is about raising the issue of a hidden problem, i.e. the number of rapes and attacks that never come to light. We’ve just ran another week’s worth of articles about the issue. We’ve had a number of women come forward, praising the campaign saying they’ve been the victim themselves.”
“Living Islam Out Loud” is a provocative and no holds barred presentation of the first generation of American Muslim women; women who have always identified themselves as both American and Muslim. These women are forging their own paths and in the aggregate are creating an American Muslim identity.
“Living Islam Out Loud” portrays sixteen American Muslim women, ages 25 to 40, who are contributing to public life in extraordinary ways and willing to share honestly about the experiences that have shaped their lives.
Each woman, in a first person, intimate account, reveals her passage to becoming an American Muslim woman. The contributors are sisters, mothers, wives and daughters. Some are professionals and others are students. Some trace their ancestry to distant Africa, others to India, one to Palestine -by way of Brooklyn and another to Panama- but all claim American roots. These women live on the West Coast, the Northeast, Middle America and the Mid Atlantic and even the deep South. They claim the complete spectrum of Islam including the Sunni and Shia traditions and the legacy of the Nation of Islam.
“Living Islam Out Loud” is an unprecedented compilation of American Muslim women writing about identity, spirituality, relationships, activism, sex and sexuality, hijab and more. While they disagree on much, they share the desire for authentic sisterhood and self-determination for themselves and for all Muslim women. They are the future faces of Islam.
Living Islam Out Loud – London
The City Circle invites you to “LIVING ISLAM OUT LOUD – American Muslim Women Speak,” a presentation and book-signing in association with Faith Matters (http://www.faith-matters.co.uk/ contact Michelle Lawrence on 07870 633770 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Speaker: Saleemah Abdul-Ghafur, Sham-e-Ali al-Jamil, Aroosha Zoq Rana, Samina Ali
Venue: Abrar House, 45 Crawford Place, off Edgware Rd, London W1H 4LP
Date: 6.45-8.45pm, Friday 4th April 2008
Free entrance. All welcome.
For event enquiries please contact us on 07980 834340 or email@example.com
Living Islam Out Loud – Oxford
Saturday 5th April, 12.00 pm
Friend Room, Christ Church, Oxford
Living Islam Out Loud – Leicester
The Fatima Women’s Network have organised a unique opportunity to meet leading American Muslim women to share ideas, hear their experiences and discuss the big questions facing muslim women globally at theDe Montfort Innovation Centre, 49 Oxford Street, Leicester LE1 5XY
Sunday 6th April 2008 from 1.30 – 4.30 pm.To book a place please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0845 331 2373
Living Islam Out Loud poster http://www.vabd.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/april-6th-visit-to-leics-by-american-muslim-women-writers.pdf
Living Islam Out Loud – Leeds
Come and hear an inspiring series of stories by American Muslim women, who are sharing their worlds, by writing about identity, spirituality, relationships, activism, hijab and so much more.Sinai Synagogue, Roman Avenue, Leeds LS8 2AN / 0113 266 5256
Thursday 10 April, 8pmShare an evening of stories about our identities as religious women in Western worlds.
For more info, contact Anna: email@example.com
Wearside Women In Need is facing new challenges as the population of Sunderland becomes more diverse. In a bid to rescue victims of domestic violence, WWIN is mounting a massive leaflet drop through every door in Hendon.
Don’t suffer in silence. That’s the awareness-raising message Wearside Women In Need is taking to women from around the globe as more settle in Sunderland
Lyn Crawford, community development outreach worker for Wearside Women In Need (WWIN), knows from her work in Hendon that domestic violence cuts across all classes.
That’s why she is reaching out to women of other cultures – Muslim, Sikh and others, knowing that many are suffering in silence and letting them know there is help and support and refuges for victims of abuse.
She hopes there will be a change in the law to give greater protection to vulnerable women who have been brought into this country from South Asia and African countries on a spousal visa and have “no recourse to public funds.”
WWIN has had to turn some of these women away because as director Clare Phillipson says, it would bankrupt them if they were to stay long term in the refuge.
But on a weekly basis Clare explains: “We have been accommodating women from all over the world – Russia, Poland, South Africa, America, India, Sri Lanka, the Phillipines and Bangladesh.
“WWIN recently helped rescue a young woman from a forced marriage in India. Our work is changing because of Internet marriages, immigration and the next generation of arranged marriages.”
However, the national domestic violence charity Refuge is supporting 22 such women in refuge accommodation and many more in their outreach services.
Supporting these women is costing Refuge about £200,000 a year
And some crisis service providers will, where possible, resort to either providing accommodation from their own scarce resources or finding places within the community from their own contacts, or placing women in empty houses and flats.
That’s why Lyn is making every effort to let such women and others trapped in a violent relationship know there is help.
She explains: “Four women in six months have referred themselves to WWIN. They have come and knocked on the door. All of them can speak English and all of them were born in this country and were aged between 19 and 30.
“But there are others who can’t speak a word of English. I brought one woman here and she gave me a phone number of someone who spoke English, a male relation. She had been assaulted the night before and we were able to get her into one of our refuges. She wouldn’t have been safe with her family. We are raising awareness in the community that there is help for them. There’s going to be leaflets put in every door in this area with WWIN numbers, thanks to funding from Back On The Map. The immigration laws, where women who have come over with their spouse and have no recourse to public funds, works in favour of the male perpetrator. With no benefits, she is going to stay and get beaten. A lot of these women stick with their husbands because of the shame it would bring on the family. They wouldn’t be encouraged to come here. They know they would be ostracised. The immigration laws help the perpetrator. He knows she isn’t going to get any money and that reinforces what he is doing and gives him more control over her. The root causes of domestic violence are power and control. It’s head games as well and so she is a prisoner.”
* Contact WWIN on (0191) 415 1506 (24-hour helpline) or (0800) 066 5555.
National Women’s Aid helpline for those who need an interpreter 0845 7023468.
Laws that leave wives vulnerable
Subjected to violence but unable to escape – this is the reality facing hundreds of women in the UK, according to a report by Amnesty International UK and Southall Black Sisters.
The report, No Recourse, No Safety – the UK Government Failure to Protect Women from Violence, reveals how hundreds of women are trapped in a cycle of abuse, unable to access basic levels of protection and support, because of their vulnerable immigration status.
Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: “The Government is betraying hundreds of women in the UK. It has a duty to ensure that all women under its jurisdiction have the same access to crisis or temporary accommodation and appropriate specialist services – regardless of their status.”
Women with insecure status who experience violence, including domestic violence or trafficking, cannot access the benefits they need to access crucial safety and support in a refuge.
The “no recourse to public funds” requirement forbids these women from getting either, leaving them with a stark choice of staying in the abuse or becoming destitute.
Southall Black Sisters co-founder Pragna Patel said: “The Government is more concerned about maintaining its tough stance on immigration than it is about ensuring that it meets international human rights standards which include acting with due diligence to protect all women from violence and abuse.”
Those potentially affected by this rule include international students, temporary workers, visitors, trafficked women and girls, and women who have entered the UK on valid visas as either a spouse or a long-term partner.
The report details one case, where a woman was kept as a slave in the house and the whole family had been physically, mentally and sexually violent towards her. The family threatened to kill her several times and on one occasion doused her with petrol and threatened to set her alight. She managed to get out and ran to the end of the road into a GP’s surgery.
Staff phoned the police, who ended up mediating. She was sent back with no support offered. One day, the family took her to a solicitor’s to sign papers and the solicitor was concerned that the woman didn’t understand.
The family were planning the divorce and then to send her back to India. The solicitor got the family to leave. She had no recourse to public funds and there was no refuge space available. Eventually, she ended up in a house owned by someone who runs a community project, but has no money for day-to-day living.
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, who is supporting the campaign, said: “The Government may think it’s upholding British justice. In actual fact, it is undermining it.
“There’ve been cases where police have been unable to pursue prosecutions against abusers, as they’ve been unable to find a safe refuge for women so that they can act as witnesses.”
Amnesty International and Southall Black Sisters are urging the Government to set up an interim emergency fund available for immediate use to help women who are at present risk while permanent solutions are established.
Reduced to the role of a slave
Vivacious, highly intelligent Salma*, with a scientific career in her sights, was reduced to being a slave by the control freak she wed in a marriage arranged by her parents.
After just one meeting and talking online, she agreed to the arranged marriage, believing he was the person she could grow to love. The virgin bride of 22 had told him how she would need to live with him a while before consummating their marriage. He agreed. But on their wedding night Salma says: “He forced himself on me. It was a disaster for me. It was terrible. I was screaming ‘stop raping me’ because that was what was happening. In India, the moment you get married, he has all the rights over you. I wanted him to treat me as a proper person with feelings and emotions. I didn’t know how to tell my mother or father. They never spoke about the physical intimacy. I used to fight and say ‘oh, no, please, let me go’. I didn’t know what to do. I felt betrayed. For two or three weeks, I used to fight but that was no use. He used to overpower me so I realised I must give in and do nothing about it.”
Having lived all over the world, Salma arrived in this country, a dependent on her husband’s passport, highly educated and fluent in English. That didn’t prevent her from being subjected to psychological abuse by her 26-year-old husband. She felt like a prisoner in their flat. Salma was also kept penniless – she didn’t even have the money to buy sanitary towels.
“I would get up at 5.30am and make a packed lunch for him. Then I would wake him up and make his breakfast and then just get on with jobs in the house, washing the clothes, making the bed and tidying. I felt very alone. There was basically nothing I could do. He didn’t want me to be the smart one and it got worse. This person is very controlling. He used to buy the phone card and take it to the office. I had no cards, nothing. We went to the supermarket together. I had no money to go anywhere.”
After nine months of sheer torture, Salma packed her bags and came to Sunderland to live at the home of a woman friend. She has been helped by WWIN’s domestic violence outreach worker Lyn Crawford to file for divorce and apply for a visa.
Salma has now left the city to go back to her home country and hopes to return in September after being offered a place by 13 different universities to do an MSc. As long as she remained in this country, her husband could have had her deported at any time because she had come into the country as a dependent with no right to any benefits under the “no recourse to public funds” rule.
So many women, unlike Salma, do not have the education or the willpower to escape from domestic abuse. To prove you are a victim of domestic violence takes three written reports from a doctor, police or a women’s support organisation. But of course, if like Salma, the abuse is psychological, how can a woman prove she has been emotionally abused? It makes it impossible for a woman to prove. That’s why many of them stay in the relationship.
As Lyn says: ” These laws and regulations are re-inforcing the perpetrator’s power.”
* Salma’s name has been changed to protect her identity.
Helpline’s a way out for women
More than 150 women have called a new helpline for victims of violence or intimidation as a result of forced marriages.
The service, called Choice, was set up for the northern region by Cleveland police last November.
Detective Superintendent Tony Hutchinson, who has just retired as head of its murder team, took the initiative. He said: “I couldn’t sleep at night unless I did something to help. My conscience wouldn’t allow me to stand by and do nothing.” He intends staying involved with the helpline, which is growing all the time.
However, Inspector Helen Eustace, an adviser on honour-based violence with Cleveland Police said: “This is a major issue and we can’t say it’s not a problem because it’s under-reported. People don’t report it because they are often fearful and they don’t want to be seen as bringing shame on their family.”
And on April 11, the first national helpine of its kind will be launched by Jasvinda Sanghera – who escaped a forced marriage – for men and women victims of forced marriage and honour-based violence. The service will be manned by survivors who have been through the same traumas as callers.
Choice can be contacted on (0800) 599 9365 and the national helpline (from April 11) is on (0800) 599 9247.
Ladyfest London is an arts festival which celebrates female creativity in all its forms. We aim to provide a platform for women’s talents in music, art, comedy, photography, film, debate, written and spoken word. Ladyfest’s have been taking place all over the world in the past few years and Ladyfest London will be taking place 9-11 May 2008. Ladyfest London is entirely run by volunteers who wish to create a fun and exciting festival which showcases female arts as well as creating a space to explore ideas, network, meet and strengthen our communities
Music will be at:
* the Underworld, 174 Camden High Street, London , NW1 ONE
Films and Workshops will be held at:
* The Islington Arts Factory- Parkhurst Road, Holloway, London, N7 0SF
* The Holloway Resource Centre:356 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA
We are joined by the fantastic Kimya Dawson (ex-Moldy Peaches) currently in the news for excellent work on the soundtrack of Juno, the fastest US selling soundtrack since Saturday Night Fever. She will headline Friday 9th May, her only London show. Robots in Disguise will headline Saturday. Sunday will be our Ladyfest Party! With Special Guests The Actionettes! plus Twee as Fuck Djs with comedy, magic, dancing and music.
Other Artists in no particular order:
* Slow Club http://www.myspace.com/slowclub
Sweet sublime British antifolk, girl boy vocals influenced in equal measure by Leonard Cohen and Rod Stewart.
* The Bobby McGees http://www.myspace.com/thebobbymcgees
The UK’s best kept secret, making other bands look shite since 2002. Ukuleles, singing in French and facepaint. You will want for nothing.
* Melodica, Melody and Me http://www.myspace.com/mmmelodic
The original folksteppers is right. Three Melodica players in their own words ”It is sort of reggae, yes sort of reggae, it is great. It is sort of reggae“
* Monday Club http://www.myspace.com/mondayclubband
Ladyfest London favourites treat us with their brand of observational narratives and strange histories, dark blue cinematic lynchian atmospherics cut with sharp drums and curious basslines.
* Your Heart Breaks http://www.myspace.com/yourheartbreaks
On tour with Kimya Dawson. Influences include queercore & hot makeout parties. The place where unicorn and pegasus combine into one. Corndogs [2 for 99 cents] pinata parties.
* Matt and Kim http://www.myspace.com/mattandkim
All the way from Brooklyn, girl and boy guitars with electro beats. Music to make you stamp your feet and hold your head high.
* New Bloods http://www.myspace.com/thenewbloods
They are from Portland, they are on Kill Rock Stars. Hype you can believe in… Osa plays violin and sings, Adee plays drums and sings and Cassie plays bass and sings… Ladyfest London and you – dancing and clapping and singing.
* Das Wanderlust http://www.myspace.com/daswanderlust
They say their attempts at writing pop songs often come out sounding a bit ‘wrong’… The UK’s first wrong-pop band.
* Comanechi http://www.myspace.com/comanechi
Riot grrl art punk, darlings of the dazed and confused youth but with substance. Comanechi kick it.
* Party Weirdo http://www.myspace.com/partyweirdomusic
Emily beats. Therese fiddles with the cello and flute. Cara pounds the rat. Angular Indie Grrl Punk from Dublin.
* Drunk Granny http://www.myspace.com/drunkgranny
Awkward post-Ladyfest pop played with conviction – loping, yelping, more or less harmonising, meandering, and moving.
* Vile Vile Creatures http://www.myspace.com/vilevilecreatures
Heirs to the Erase Errata’s crown, feminist politics and drums in equal measure. Manchester’s finest, catch them here.
* Kasms http://www.myspace.com/kasmskasms
Out of the ashes of cult London band Wolfie, Kasms spring up. Riot Grrl meets the Damned – you have been warned.
There will also be an extensive programme of talks, discussions and skill-sharing workshops. Highlights will include: panel discussion on women in the music business, talks by women campaigning for the rights of asylum seekers and migrants, discussions on the state of women in prisons, a long table discussion on riot grrrl with three of the contributing authors of ‘Riot Grrrl: Revolution girl style now!’, workshops on drumming, songwriting, bike maintenance, craft making and feminist activism, as well as many more.
We are excited to be showing a programme of films documenting our favourite musicians including: It Changed my Life, Lucy Thane’s film about Huggy Bear and Bikini Kill’s 1993 UK tour. Katharina Ellerbrock’s film Female + Queer words + Beats featuring Le Tigre, Rhythm King and Her Friends and Lesbians on Ectasy. And Kerry Koch’s film Don’t Need You which focuses on the American Riot Grrl scene with rare footage of Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill etc. Ladyfest will also be showcasing African women filmmakers including Monique Mbeka Phoba’s insightful film about a young singer with 36 brothers and sisters – Anna from Benin and Rahmatou Keita’s film set in Niger – Al’leessi…An African Actress about a talented and experimental actress and her life after acting.
MORE ABOUT LADYFESTS
Ladyfest London is predominantly organised women, all of whom are volunteers. The first Ladyfest was organised in Olympia, WA in 2000. Since then over 100 Ladyfests have taken place worldwide, all independently organised by local teams of volunteers. The Ladyfest phenomenon has spearheaded a movement of progressive feminist and queer cultural activism, which Ladyfest London continues to build on. Each community that organises a Ladyfest has specific aims and home-grown concerns. This year’s Ladyfest London wants to place particular political focus women’s experiences of migration, asylum and refuge and women in prisons. All profits made by the festival will go towards relevant women’s charities, to be decided upon by committee.
Organisers meet regularly at the London Action Resource Centre (LARC) in Whitechapel – more volunteers needed and welcomed.
All Women are warmly invited to come and use the space for relaxation, skill-share, learning and fun!
There is a range of regular workshops, plus cafe, bar and kids space.