Sisters Uncut

Taking direct action for domestic violence services.

PRESS RELEASE: Feminists dye fountains red in anti-austerity protest

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Feminists dye London fountains red in anti-austerity protest

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Twitter: @SistersUncut / #TheyCutWeBleed

Today (28th November 2015), feminist direct action group Sisters Uncut dyed the Trafalgar Square fountains red in protest against spending cuts to domestic violence services. This act of civil disobedience is the most dramatic action that the newly-formed group has taken so far to visually depict their “they cut, we bleed” mantra. No arrests were made.

Sisters Uncut held a funeral-themed protest in Soho Square at 12.00pm, to mourn domestic violence services that have had to close as a result of Osborne’s austerity measures. Members of the group wore funeral attire and black veils as they read out the names of all the women who have been killed as a result of domestic violence.

The protest was called in response to the government’s spending review, delivered this Wednesday. Further cuts to local council budgets were announced, which are set to prompt further closures of local domestic violence support services. In a statement released this week, the group describe Osborne’s “tampon tax” proposals as a “sticking plaster on a haemorrhage”.

After bringing traffic to a standstill on Charing Cross road, the march ended with a rally by the Trafalgar Square fountains, where hundreds of onlookers watched as the group shouted “They cut, we bleed” and listed their demands, including: no further cuts to domestic violence support services, and guaranteed funding for specialist support services that help black and minority ethnic (BME) women.

Since Osborne’s austerity measures in 2010, over 30 domestic violence support services have been forced to close. (1) The group are concerned that, as more services shut down, more women risk death at the hands of violent partners or ex-partners.

The event was attended by over 500 women, many of whom are domestic violence survivors and support workers. Their chants included “two women a week murdered” and “they cut, we bleed”. The march was timed in response to the government’s spending review on Wednesday 25th November, which coincided with the UN-sponsored International Day to End Violence Against Women.

Domestic violence support services are a lifeline for women fleeing domestic violence. Specialist services bear the brunt of these cuts, especially those that help black and minority ethnic (BME) women, LGBTQ+ people and disabled women. Disabled women are twice as likely to experience domestic violence. (2)

Ama Roberts from Sisters Uncut said: “Many people don’t realise that cuts to local councils equate to cuts to domestic violence support services. They are a lifeline. If more services shut down, more women will die.’”

Zara Khan, a domestic violence support worker, said: “Every day I fight for women’s lives, and now I am fighting for my ability to do that. The government should be making it easier, not more difficult, for women to flee life-threatening violence”



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