We call onto all women, LGBTQI persons and all individuals who feel the need to fight gender inequality to unify on 8th March and raise their voices: Stop Gender-Based Violence!
by Moviment Graffitti
Another 8th of March is soon with us and we felt the urge to unite our voices against all the daily forms of oppression faced by women. Sexism, misogyny and sexualised violence are found everywhere, everyday, in Malta and around the world.
Violence against women is not decreasing in numbers and usually involves family or (ex)partners, not just a few delinquent individuals. In Europe, 1 in 3 women experience physical and/or sexual violence by a current or previous partner. A Europe-wide survey by FRA (2014) found that 15% of women aged 15+ in Malta have experienced this kind of violence. In recent years, we have also witnessed cases of women murdered by partners, such as the shocking story of 33-year-old Eleanor Mangion Walker, found dead in Qormi in July 2016.
The recent #metoo movement made visible countless experiences of sexual violence and gender-based oppression. We positively note current efforts to strengthen Maltese legislation protecting victims of gender-based violence, and the valuable work being done by organisations and institutions that offer support to women who experience abuse. However, gender-based violence is deep-rooted, inseparable from the reality of structural gender inequality that manifests itself in social attitudes, gender roles and dominant discourses. There is an underlying system that works through all of us, our institutions and our cultures. There is an interconnection between the culture of gendering children‘s toys and activities, sexualised advertisements of any sort, sexist comments in the street and social media, rape and other forms of gender-based violence.
Thus, we find ourselves unable to “celebrate” International Women’s Day. Rather, we see the necessity to raise our voices, keep the fight going and build new solidarity networks with all women, individuals and organizations that refuse to tolerate the fact that some husbands, partners, brothers and fathers still abuse women.
We are also aware of the difficulties that women in Malta face as mothers and workers. In a market where rent and property prices have spiralled out of control, compounded by low wages and the increasing cost of living, people like single mothers and women with abusive partners are finding it harder to build an independent living. Specific difficulties are also experienced by Trans women, facing transphobia and financial burdens, as well as by migrant women, often living precarious lives due to temporary documentation and, at times, a hostile social environment.
On the 8th of March, countless women around the world will be in the street with a common call against violence: women in the US are joining their voices for women’s rights and against Trump’s sexism; women from South and Central America will strike against femicide (killing of women) with the demand Ni una menos! – Not one less!; women all around Europe will be demonstrating in favour of a life free from sexism, violence and oppression.
We have to do something now if we wish that the younger generations grow up in a better Malta, where any form of gender-based abuse will no longer form part of our lives. Everyone can do something. Let’s start by not tolerating sexism in our daily life.
We call onto all women, LGBTQI persons and all individuals who feel the need to fight gender inequality to unify on 8th March and raise their voices: Stop Violence Against Women Now! Stop Gender-Based Violence!
Thursday 8th March, 17:30 City Gate Valletta – International Women’s Day March
Jum il-Mara – Semma’ Leħnek! Raise your Voice!