I love direct action. I spend a lot of my life, with many, many other women and some men, trying to stop male violence against women. I write, talk, provide support to women and children, help design educational programmes and training for professionals, deliver programmes to stop sexual violence, contribute to policy documents to guide how different agencies respond, etc etc etc.
So sometimes walking down a Wellington street shouting “Say it once, say it again, no excuse for violent men” and “Yes means yes, no means no, however we dress, wherever we go” has just the right degree of directness, of immediacy, to feel rewarding.
Direct action around violence against women sure is a lot easier these days than 20 years ago. This year Reclaim the Night had no male hecklers telling us “I wouldn’t rape you” apparently, as an insult? Go figure. I remember this well from my first march, as a very nervous 18 year old.
This year in Wellington we had 80 plus women gathered around on a gale force night. Cars tooted their support and women (and a couple of men) joined in our chants as we walked through central Wellington.
I know the other work I do is probably more important for real women’s lives. But there is something about a protest…..