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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 June 2020

20 days. One town. Four domestic violence murders. "We want deeds not words."

Doncaster Women's Lives Matter protest June 2020, photo Amy Cousens

Doncaster Women's Lives Matter protest June 2020, photo Amy Cousens   (Click to enlarge)

Amy Cousens, Women's Lives Matter and Socialist Party

400 people attended the vigil held to mark the murders of four women in Doncaster. The vigil, organised by Women's Lives Matter, was initially to mark the domestic violence murder of Amy Leanne Stringfellow.

In the days leading up to the event, campaigners learnt of three more women that had also been murdered by their male partners or other men known to them. All within 20 days of each other in one town. This is an horrific increase in the rate of domestic violence.

This is in the same town where four years ago the local Labour council cut its funds to Women's Aid - twice. I spoke from the campaign and the Socialist Party about domestic violence and its rise. While deeply personal, it is also political.

Austerity

Domestic violence has risen in line with austerity, not because men have become more violent, but because austerity traps women in abuse. Low pay, low benefits, lack of affordable housing, little to non-existent legal aid and lack of refuge spaces - all make it hard or impossible for women to leave.

During the lockdown, the government has paid only lip service to the danger domestic violence victims face by being stuck in their homes. They have given minuscule crumbs, and only to charities, to help cope with the increase in demand for support and safe refuge. This has without any doubt contributed to the increase in women's and children's murders in the last three months.

Other speakers, which were members of the crowd, raised their disgust at the cuts and spoke about the need for support, and particularly counselling. They said, as a community they needed to talk about domestic violence, talk to their sons and daughters.

Never again

Amy Leanne's mother, Jacqui, bravely climbed up to the fountain platform, and said that she would not, as long as she is alive, "allow another woman to go through this".

There was not a dry eye in the park. But people were not just sad, they were angry.

Louise Harrison, founding member of Women's Lives Matter (WLM), said: "It's about time politicians in this town started listening to us, we want deeds not words. We don't want them to tell us they are sorry, we want them to put their money where their mouth is and start funding our services." This was met with cries of "Yes" and huge applause.

The WLM campaign page has been swamped with messages and comments from attendees wanting to get involved and campaign. One of them commented about their experience of domestic violence and how the speakers have "highlighted what needs to happen in society to tackle this".

The last words of the protest were: "This is the beginning, not one woman more." WLM will be building a campaign to fight for what is needed to keep women safe.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 17 June 2020:


What we think

Which way forward for Black Lives Matter protests?

Oppose racist symbols and the racist system


News

Capitalism = inequality. Fight for socialism!

Black Lives Matter: more youth protests take aim at capitalism

Contact tracing fiasco: You can't believe a word the government tells us


Youth

Youth without a future: fight for jobs and homes - fight for socialism!


Workplace news

Resist relaxation of Sunday trading laws

Debenham's protests: Workers must not pay price of Covid-19

Battle with BT management needed to win real pay rise


Schools

Tories retreat on free school meals

Parents' protests against Welsh schools reopening

Cumbria: Teachers, parents and socialists fight reckless school reopening


Reviews

Tears and anger over the treatment of the Windrush generation

Film: Da 5 Bloods - entertaining but politically constrained


Campaigns and party news

Why we joined the Socialist Party

20 days. One town. Four domestic violence murders.

Fight for a socialist future!


Lessons from history

Reform or revolt? How was the slave trade abolished?


Scotland

Scotland and coronavirus - a catalogue of government failure


Readers' opinion

Three years on: No justice for Grenfell, no peace from BLM

Two-metre rule under 'review' - Another case of profit before safety

The Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

Domestic violence:

triangleDomestic violence murder

triangleShocking increase in domestic violence killings

triangleLockdown increases domestic violence calls - Tory money a drop in the ocean

triangleUnite opposes all cuts to domestic violence services

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Starmer, the Labour Party, and socialism

Women:

triangleSouth Africa: Working class unity to stop violence against women

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: Women in the pandemic

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Are women being pushed back into the 1950s?

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: Women and Covid

Austerity:

triangleWhy the Socialist Party is backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary

triangleWorld capitalism's terrified strategists abandon austerity - for now

triangleNon-fiction: This Land - the story of a movement

Aid:

triangleInternational aid: Johnson's pie in the sky

triangleA new world order - global reconstruction after World War Two

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