A vigil in September gave Bristolians space to mourn Sabina Nessa. Yesterday’s march gave the opportunity to stand against the male violence that killed her.
The March Against Male Violence drew an estimated 400 people on Sunday (Oct 10) to march from College Green to Castle Park, stopping in Broadmead and Cabot Circus.
Gathering at the Castle Park bandstand, protesters listened to speeches from an open mic until 4.30 when the crowd dispersed.
The march was organised by Steph Pia, using a Facebook event and fly-postering to attract attention.
Speaking to TBA, Steph said she was moved to action by the murder of Sabina Nessa and a desire to bring people together against hopelessness:
‘We need space to grieve, not only for those that we’ve lost, but those that are here because we don’t know when we’re going to lose each other, we don’t know what we’re going to lose each other to but very likely it will be male violence.’
Steph said she was pleased with the turnout, praising the energy of the crowd and the willingness of so many people to speak on the open mic to share their own stories of sexual assault, harassment, and the failures of the police to take action.
Making the march inclusive to trans and non-binary people was paramount for Steph, who said that many feminist movments are often non-inclusive for trans women, despite trans women in many cases having ‘gone through the same, and worse, than the average cis woman.’
Data from Stonewall, the LGBTQ+ charity and advocacy group, shows that 40% of LGBT people have experienced a hate crime in their lives, whilst a recent study from the US shows that LGBT people are four times more likely to be victims of rape, sexual assault and physical assault.
Steph said ‘I think a lot of people have the impression that this city is incredibly progressive, but I see time and time again that it’s not.’
Bristol is ‘progressive, but fake progressive,’ with the council ‘not supportive of any kind of difference.’ Steph also called out activist groups like XR for a lack of intersectionality.
Sunday’s march gave a sense of solidarity to participants, many of whom were visibly emotional upon leaving Castle Park. Whether it will help to address and end male violence is another matter, although naming the problem is always the first step.
The Radical Resilience Project are running Emergency Men’s Learning Courses for me to learn how to tackle rape culture. More information and tickets can be found here