The 97 March: Meet the protesters standing in solidarity with women against sexual harassment

Following the death of Sarah Everard, women have taken to the streets to protest rampant misogyny and harassment that has gone unchecked for too long, writes Angela Christofilou

Angela Christofilou
Sunday 11 April 2021 00:00
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On Saturday 3 April I was there to document with my camera and stand in solidarity with hundreds of people marching from Trafalgar Square to Parliament to protest against sexual harassment of women.

The 97 March came after a new survey by UN Women UK exposed the extent of this problem, revealing that 97 per cent of women aged 18 to 24 have been sexually harassed, while 80 per cent of women of all ages said they had been harassed in public spaces.

Women came together stronger and mobilised across the country against sexual harassment and gender-based violence after the murder of Sarah Everard, expressing their grief and rage and reopening the debate around women’s safety and misogyny.

The 97 March “has become so much bigger than just a single statistic’’, a representative of the group tells me. “The 97 March is for all women and marginalised genders.

“We are fighting for cultural and systemic change. We seek to amplify the voices and work of already existing grassroots organisations and activists, with the intention of forming a collective that is intersectional and representative of all.”

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Among the list of the demands set out by the movement are that schools and education bodies teach boys to be anti-misogynist from a young age, implement a zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy in workplaces, criminalise public sexual harassment and make nights out safer for women, including anti-spiking measures.

The movement also requests that the media stops depicting women through a misogynistic and racist lens and calls on men to listen to women, check their own behaviour and call out their friends.

In regards to policing, the organisers also call for the redistribution of funds into community-led organisations and models for safety and the prevention of sexual harassment, assault, and domestic violence.

UN Women UK have also written a public letter calling for safer and inclusive public spaces for all, more information can be found here: www.unwomenuk.org/safe-spaces-now

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