Sisters Uncut

Taking direct action for domestic violence services.

Aren’t Palestinians women too?

Thursday, November 2, 2023

The title of this piece is inspired by Sojourner Truth, and later bell hooks’, famous clapback: “Ain’t I a woman?”. Black feminists have always been asked to justify our tactics and sympathies to white women.

 

An article about us in the Jewish Chronicle asks: Why does a feminist group care about Gaza? What has bombs and genocide got to do with women and feminism? To our Black and migrant Sisters whose feminism has, by necessity, always been about more than domestic patriarchy, this is a familiar question. It translates roughly to: ‘why do you care about things beyond white Western women’s sympathies or concerns?’

 

This question sets up a false binary between two things conceived as being opposed to each other: justice for Palestinians on the one hand, and feminism on the other. This is an entirely disgusting and depraved juxtaposition, if you pay attention to conditions on the ground for women in Gaza. So in response we ask the Jewish Chronicle: aren’t Palestinians women too?

 

50,000 women in Gaza are pregnant. 5,500 are due to give birth in the next month.  The collapse of the Gazan healthcare system due to Israel’s genocidal actions, and the lack of medicine and medical supplies as a result, means women in Gaza are facing medieval-style childbirths. We already know caesarian sections are taking place without anaesthesia, on the floors of hospitals. Hospitals that could at any second be blasted by Israeli missiles.

 

Women who give birth over the coming days, weeks and months will likely have no homes to take their newborn children to, nor can mothers produce sufficient milk to keep them alive due to Israel’s starving of Gaza. Feminists have long fought to improve the quality of, and ensure universal access to, women’s healthcare: today in Gaza the act of bringing life into the world has become a potential death sentence – for mother and baby.

 

We know that in times of human catastrophe and crisis, barbarity and oppression, women experience the brunt of violence: both at an interpersonal and institutional level. We know that with war comes brutal, unflinching gendered violence. These universal facts – that come out of living in a patriarchal and violent world – don’t change when the women are Palestinian.

 

More broadly, we know that the mutually sustaining systems of apartheid, settler colonialism and occupation, that keep Palestinians cruelly oppressed, have devastating effects on the psyche of women, and is incompatible with women’s liberation. This is why Palestinian women’s rights organisations and activists have themselves long insisted that women’s struggle and the struggle for national liberation are inseparable.

 

We know divisions of labour exist in Palestine in similar ways they do in the West: when Palestinian men are caged in Israeli jails, or killed by Israeli guns it is women who pick up the additional work to raise Palestinian families. Traumatised Palestinian mothers, having to raise traumatised Palestinian children, in conditions of inhumane oppression.

 

This is a dynamic too many Black women in the West know well: it is almost always Black women who run the justice campaigns, and are the ballast that holds a family upright, when a Black man has been murdered by police, or locked up due to the systematic targeting of Black men and boys in Western criminal justice systems.

 

It’s important to peer through a feminist lens when looking at the ongoing genocide and 100 year oppression of Palestinians. However, with reports of sexualised torture being used to brutalise Palestinian men and boys by Israeli authorities, long before this moment; silenced narratives of the rape of Palestinian women during the Nakba; reports of sexualised violence being meted out on Israeli women by Hamas; as well as the Islamophobic and racist weaponisation of sexual violence that presents it as an Arab, as opposed to a global, problem* there are multiple, overlapping ways feminists must speak out.

 

Yet, the bottom line is a fundamentally human one. We believe in freedom for all Palestinians.

 

Quite rightly, no people would ever accept being murdered, humiliated, dispossessed, racially targeted, oppressed, cleansed, exiled – and colonised – without resisting. This means lasting peace will only ever be possible when Palestinians are free. Period.

 

Freedom means Palestinians having full human rights; to live, love and laugh as equal human beings in a democracy, for all the people on all the land, built on equal rights – not demographic majorities and racial supremacy. This requires political, not military, solutions and that begins with a ceasefire now!

 

We care about Gaza because we care about women. And we care about women because we care about humanity.

 

 

 

*We added this following generous and loving feedback from our Arab/Muslim comrades – thank you.

 

References:
1 – Gaza situation dire, UN says, as Israeli military admits security failures (BBC)
2 – Pregnant women in Gaza reportedly being forced to undergo C-section deliveries without anaesthesia (Al Jazeera)
3 – EU must go beyond urging a humanitarian pause and call for a ceasefire to protect Palestinian civilians, says ActionAid (ActionAid)
4 – Palestinian child says he was raped by Israeli interrogator (Electronic Intifada)
​​​5 – Sexual torture of Palestinian men by Israeli authorities (Reproductive Health Matters)
6 – Suppressed Nakba memories in Palestinian female narratives : Susan Abulhawa’s The Blue Between Sky and Water and Radwa Ashour’s The Woman from Tantoura (Ingenta Connect)
7 – https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/factcheck-what-is-a-war-crime-and-did-hamas-commit-war-crimes-in-its-attack-on-israel

HUNDREDS OF PRO-PALESTINE ACTIVISTS SHUT DOWN LIVERPOOL STREET TO DEMAND CEASEFIRE ON THE EVE OF THE BOMBING OF JABALIA REFUGEE CAMP.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

HUNDREDS OF PRO-PALESTINE ACTIVISTS SHUT DOWN LIVERPOOL STREET TO DEMAND CEASEFIRE ON THE EVE OF THE BOMBING OF JABALIA REFUGEE CAMP.

 

  • Over 500 people took action to shut down Liverpool St station to amplify urgent demands for a ceasefire in Gaza 

 

 

  • Sisters Uncut claim it ‘is not business as usual’ and call for an end to Israeli genocide, a ceasefire and an end to the arms trade with Israel. 

 

 

  • The action follows a blockade of the Foreign Office this morning by Jewish group Na’amod, and a 300-strong blockade of Waterloo station on Saturday 
  • Many commuters joined in, with one even showing the Palestine flag on their phone.

 

LINK TO PHOTOS AND VIDEOS – CREDIT SISTERS UNCUT

EMAIL: [email protected]

At 17:30 on Tuesday 31st October, direct action group Sisters Uncut coordinated activists from across the Palestinian liberation movement to stage a sit-in during rush hour on Halloween at Liverpool Street station.

Demanding an immediate ceasefire to Israel’s UK-backed attacks on Gaza and an end to arms exports to Israel, speakers from Palestinian Youth Movement, Na’Amod, No More Exclusions, Sisters Uncut and International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network spoke to the gathered crowds, Palestinian music was played and chants were led. 

Chants included “Ceasefire now!” and “Stop bombing Gaza!”  

The protest follows the continued refusal of UK politicians to call for a ceasefire in Palestine and their continued support of Israel’s aggressions on Palestine. 

Following Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s calls for  ‘a time for war’ and Keir Starmer’s refusal to call for a ceasefire, the group calls for there to be a ceasefire now and for the UK to end its arms exports to Israel, in the same way apartheid South Africa was isolated. 

The group is also urging Keir Starmer and the UK Government to represent the demands of the 500,000+ people taking to the streets every weekend.

The groups pointed out that between 2016 – 2010 alone, Britain approved arms licences to Israel worth £387 million and most recently prime minister Rishi Sunak sent Royal Navy war ships and RAP planes to Israel. Britain has also allowed Israel to breach international law with impunity.  

The protest is taking place in Liverpool Street Station due to its connection to the City of London, notorious for funnelling arms trade money through it. Banks including Legal & General, HSBC and Barclays invest in the arms trade with Israel, and HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, Barclays and Standard Chartered all help provide loans to companies that arm Israel. 

Crossrail is currently advising the Israeli government on building a national transit service. Britain continues to profit from not standing up to this genocide.  

 

QUOTES:

Aditi Wilson said:

“It cannot be business as usual when businesses in the City fund and profit from the murders of Palestinians. The UK has a moral obligation to stop fuelling this war with weapons and with its public endorsement. The UK must speak in strong favour of an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza, as well as an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel. Has everyone lost their minds? How is it possible that we are condoning such obvious war crimes and racist rhetoric from Netanyahu?”

Another protestor, named Eda Gencer said: 

“It’s clear to see the UK won’t challenge Israel as they are once again putting  profit over humanity. How anyone can see the pictures emerging from Gaza and not be calling an immediate ceasefire is beyond me! We are here today to tell the government, this is genocide and it must stop! They bombed Jabalia refugee camp just today! They are literally committing war crimes in front of us!”

“As Israel continues to bomb hospitals, like the Al-Ahli hospital, the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital, Al-Quds hospital and with threats made against Al-Shifa Hospital, the UK government must stop endorsing war crimes and stand up to Israel. Until then there can be no business as usual.” 

Referencing the Kindertransport statue at Liverpool Street station, Jewish protester Miriam Eppenheim said: 

“In 1938 the British Government allowed 10,000 Jewish children to find refuge here, whilst abandoning their parents to murder at the hands of the Nazis. Today our Government has not only abandoned but enabled the murder of thousands of Palestinian children, together with their parents and families, at the hands of the Israeli war machine.The British Government has long been complicit in colonial violence, one example marked by the Balfour Declaration in 1917 – the anniversary is this Thursday!”.

 

Notes for Editors:

EMAIL: [email protected]

[1] As well as describing Palestinians as “human animals”, multiple senior Israeli military and political officials have been stating openly that “The emphasis is on damage, not accuracy,” that “Gaza will eventually turn into a city of tents,” and that “There will be no buildings.” 

Israeli Defence Minister: ‘We Are Fighting Human Animals’ | HuffPost UK Politics (huffingtonpost.co.uk) 

[2] Israel’s actions to stop fuel, electricity, food and water entering Gaza have deliberately created a dire humanitarian crisis of ‘unprecedented’ proportions, according to the United Nations. Charity Oxfam stated this week that Israel is using ‘starvation as a weapon of war’.

[3] UK arms exports to Israel include engines for drones, ammunition and light arms. Over 30 licences allowing unlimited delivery of equipment to Israel have been granted between 2016-2022, according to Campaign Against Arms Trade’s database.

NO POLICE IN OUR WOMEN’S BUILDING – Fill out the survey

Friday, June 9, 2023

The Women’s Building* that Peabody has promised to build on the site of Holloway Prison is at risk of housing probationary services. 

Formerly the largest women’s prison in Europe, Holloway prison was a site of intense violence and harm. The Women’s Building was demanded by the community, to be a space for healing and support for people who have experienced violence at the hand of the state. 

Embedding probationary services into the Women’s Building would be the complete opposite of what the community demanded. We do not want more policing of our communities. We do not want a prison under another name. We want a Women’s Building that works in the interests of us all.

We are asking people to fill out this survey from Peabody to make it clear that we want no probationary services in the Women’s building, that the building should provide specialised services for all survivors and that the building should be for women, non-binary and intersex people, and their children.

Please use our answers below as a guide, but use your own words.

GUIDE ANSWERS

QUESTION ONE

Choose ‘not important’ to the suggestion of ‘Probation referrals’.

Choose ‘other’ and in the text box specify that:

  • We need specialist services for Black survivors and survivors of colour, LGBT* survivors (emphasise the need for all services to be fully trans-inclusive), D/disabled survivors, and women, intersex and non-binary people who were formerly incarcerated. 
  • There should also be a safe injection site/needle exchange.
  • No services in the building should be linked to the Criminal Justice System.
  • All services should be run by organisations that recognise the harms perpetuated by the Criminal Justice System. 
  • All services should be free at the point of use.

QUESTION TWO

Choose ‘not important’ for ‘commercial space’. 

Choose ‘other’ and note that the space should also: 

  • Include a kitchen
  • Be fully accessible
  • Be free at the point of use

Note that there should be no commercial space in the building.

QUESTION FOUR

Choose ‘not relevant’ for ‘exclusive use for women only’ and then clarify in the text box below that it is important that the space is for women (trans and cis), non-binary and intersex people and their children. 

Choose ‘other’ and note in the text box that:

  • There must be no connection to the Criminal Justice System (including immigration enforcement).
  • All services, including childcare, must be offered free at the point of use.

QUESTION FIVE

Strongly state that there must be no probation services in the building. Probation services are an arm of the Criminal Justice System that entrench state surveillance in the lives of formerly incarcerated people and set near impossible standards and codes of behaviour that they must adhere to. Probation services are another way that the Criminal Justice System cements itself in the lives of those currently and formerly imprisoned.

Probation services are not spaces for healing or support. 

When the Community came together to demand a Women’s Building, the vision was that it would be a place of healing for those who have experienced violence at the hands of the state. It should work to rectify the pain and trauma inflicted by prisons and the Criminal Justice System. This can only happen if it is completely independent of these systems. No services that are linked to or co-operate with the Criminal Justice System should be housed in the building.

Services provided must not cooperate with the Home Office or Ministry of Justice in any capacity or deny access to individuals on the basis of immigration status. 

*’Women’s Building’ is the term used by the Council, Peabody and some community groups. We insist that the building must be inclusive of all women (trans and cis), non-binary and intersex people.

PHOTOS: Sisters Uncut set off 1000 rape alarms outside Charing Cross police station

Saturday, March 12, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
6pm Saturday 12 March 2022

  • The action marks the anniversary of the infamous Clapham Common vigil for Sarah Everard, where police beat and arrested women
  • Patsy Stevenson, violently arrested by police at the vigil last year, gave a speech to crowds: “I was arrested on the floor for putting down a candle”
  • Since the murder of Sarah Everard by serving police officer Wayne Couzens, repeated reports of police sexual abuse have broken into the press

For interview and comment contact: [email protected] / 07436324082

@SistersUncut #BecomeUngovernable

At 6pm on Saturday 12 March, members of feminist direct action group Sisters Uncut set off 1000 rape alarms at Charing Cross police station, the centre of the Met’s misogyny controversy this year. On Twitter, the group said “One year ago today, the police waited until sunset to brutalise us at Clapham Common. Today, we waited until sunset to detonate 1000 rape alarms at Charing Cross station”.

The group were joined by Patsy Stevenson, who gave a brief speech before the alarms were detonated. She said: “I was arrested on the floor for putting down a candle”, and said “shame on you” to police officers present at the protest.

An IOPC report released in February investigated various allegations against officers at Charing Cross police station, including a police officer assaulting his partner, officers having sex while on duty, racist and sexist Whatsapp messages, including some sent within a police officer Whatsapp group that said ‘I would happily rape you’ and ‘if I was single I would happily chloroform you.’(4) 

The investigation is the latest in an outpouring of abuse reports within the Metropolitan Police since the Clapham Common vigil, most recently culminating in the resignation of Cressida Dick. 

The date of this action marks the one-year anniversary of the Clapham Common vigil for Sarah Everard, which saw police officers ordered to violently manhandle women. The vigil kickstarted the Kill the Bill movement, which has seen thousands of people protest the introduction of expanded policing powers in the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.  

This week, two judges ruled that the Met Police breached the rights of the organisers of the planned vigil for Sarah Everard, who did not attend the vigil itself.

Sisters Uncut maintain that police violence against women is not new. At least 15 women have been killed by police officers since 2009. As reported in the Guardian, according to the Centre for Women’s Justice, one woman a week comes forward to report a serving police officer for domestic or sexual violence. 

The action calls for the public to “withdraw consent from policing”, in reference to the tradition of ‘policing by consent’ in the UK. Sisters Uncut say, given the repeated reports of misogyny embedded in the institution, there is no way for women to consent to police power. Sisters Uncut maintain that more police powers will lead to more police violence and a society without police would be much safer.

Sisters Uncut advocate for police budgets to be cut, and funding for domestic and sexual abuse services reinstated. 

Quotes

Sisters Uncut member Olga Smith said : ​​”When we found out about Sarah’s disappearance at the hands of a serving cop, we asked the police, how will you keep us safe? And the police said: stay home. Stay hidden. Carry a rape alarm. When we refused to hide away, when we gathered in grief and anger at Clapham Common to mourn our sister, Sarah Everard, the police brutalised us. Today we say: police are the perpetrators. Police don’t keep us safe. That is why have thrown our rape alarms back at the perpetrators in the infamous Charing Cross police station.”

Cassie Robinson, a 36 year old from London who attended the action said “I was there last year on Clapham Common, and the police’s behaviour was disgraceful.  I’ve completely lost faith in the police to take violence against women seriously, and I participated in today’s protest because I am withdrawing my consent for violent men to have any authority in this society.” 

For interview and comment contact: [email protected] / 07436324082

Notes for Editors:

  • Sisters Uncut are a direct action group protesting cuts to domestic and sexual violence services. The group was formed by domestic violence survivors and sector workers in 2014, and now has a network of groups across the country.
  • The Guardian reported that, according to the Bureau for investigative Journalism, 700+ reports of domestic abuse were made against police officers between April 2015 and April 2018 (1)
  • Between 2012-18, there were 1,500 accusations of sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, exploitation of crime victims and child abuse) resulting in only 197 officers being sacked (2)
  • Between 2015-17, 415 referrals were made for officers that had abused their position to sexually assault someone, with domestic and sexual violence victims, sex workers and drug users being most at risk of being abused by an on-duty police officer (3)
  • The IOPIC (Independent Office for Police Conduct)’s Operation Hotton report can be read here (4). Coverage in the Independent here (5).

Images:

Video of alarms being set off:

IMG_0056

‘Police are the perpetrators’: Sisters Uncut set to take action one year on from Clapham Common vigil

Monday, March 7, 2022

  • Feminist action group that launched Kill the Bill movement mark one year since Clapham Common vigil, where women were brutalised by police officers 
  • Hundreds expected to gather at New Scotland Yard to withdraw consent from British policing

@SistersUncut #BecomeUngovernable

[email protected]

At 5pm on Saturday 12 March, feminist activist group Sisters Uncut will host a mass direct action at New Scotland Yard for the public to withdraw their consent from British policing. Details of the action will not be revealed until the day. 

The date marks the one-year anniversary of the Clapham Common vigil for Sarah Everard, which saw police officers ordered to violently manhandle women. This event kickstarted the Kill the Bill movement. 

The year since the vigil has seen an outpouring of abuse reports within the Metropolitan Police, most recently culminating in the resignation of Cressida Dick. 

Sisters Uncut maintain that police violence against women is not new. At least 15 women have been killed by police officers since 2009. As reported in the Guardian, according to the Centre for Women’s Justice, one woman a week comes forward to report a serving police officer for domestic or sexual violence. 

The action calls for the public to “withdraw consent from policing”, in reference to the tradition of ‘policing by consent’ in the UK. 

Given the repeated reports of misogyny embedded in the institution, the group states that there is no way for women to consent to police power. Sisters Uncut maintain that more police powers will lead to more police violence and a society without police would be much safer.

Sisters Uncut advocate for police budgets to be cut, and funding for domestic and sexual abuse services reinstated. 

 

Quotes

Sisters Uncut member Gina Cane said: “The police are perpetrators of violence. We saw this in the way they beat women at Clapham Common last year, we saw it in the murder of Sarah Everard, and we’ve seen it in the countless reports of police sexual abuse. When the policing bill passes, we can expect to see more police powers lead to even more police violence. We reject the authority of the police, a racist misogynist institution built on coercion and control.” 

Cassie Robinson, a 36 year old from London who plans to attend the action said “policing by consent means the power of the police is dependent on public approval. I am withdrawing my consent for violent men to have any authority in this society.” 

 

Notes for Editors:

  • Sisters Uncut are a direct action group protesting cuts to domestic and sexual violence services. The group was formed by domestic violence survivors and sector workers in 2014, and now has a network of groups across the country.
  • The Guardian reported that, according to the Bureau for investigative Journalism, 700+ reports of domestic abuse were made against police officers between April 2015 and April 2018 (1)
  • Between 2012-18, there were 1,500 accusations of sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, exploitation of crime victims and child abuse) resulting in only 197 officers being sacked (2)
  • Between 2015-17, 415 referrals were made for officers that had abused their position to sexually assault someone, with domestic and sexual violence victims, sex workers and drug users being most at risk of being abused by an on-duty police officer (3)

 

Police are the perpetrators: Sisters Uncut call mass national action against police

Friday, February 11, 2022

Feminist direct action group Sisters Uncut are calling a national demonstration for people to withdraw their consent from police power.

On Saturday 12 March, Sisters Uncut invite the public to gather outside Scotland Yard, headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, at 5pm. No further details are revealed at this stage.

The date marks the one-year anniversary of the Clapham Common vigil, led by Sisters Uncut, where women were beaten and arrested by Metropolitan police officers. The police violence triggered Sisters Uncut to launch the ‘Kill the Bill’ mass movement, which has mobilised thousands of members and the public and politicians to reject the proposed expansion of police powers in the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Sisters Uncut maintain that more police powers will lead to more police violence.

In the past year, there have been countless reports of serving police officers committing rape, sexual harassment and domestic abuse. As public trust has been severed, Sisters Uncut maintain that a society without police would be much safer.

A spokesperson from Sisters Uncut said:

“Cressida Dick is resigning but she is leaving behind an institution that is rotten to the core. The police are perpetrators of violence, whose power remains unchallenged and intact. The Met police who beat women at Clapham Common are still yet to be handed unprecedented powers through the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Court Bill. The issue has always been institutional, not individual.

“Policing by consent is a story this country likes to tell about itself. The reality is that policing is unaccountable, aggressive and violent. We withdraw our consent from policing, and encourage the wider public to as well.”

Justice for Jasmine: Sisters Uncut solidarity with Jasmine York, facing jail for Kill the Bill protest

Monday, January 31, 2022

Today we are picketing the trial of Jasmine York at Bristol Crown Court. We stand in unconditional solidarity with her. Jasmine was charged by police after she complained about her injuries.

Jasmine York was brutalised by police and badly bitten by police dogs at last year’s Bristol Kill the Bill demonstration. But today she’s the one on trial, facing up to 14 years in prison. Her case symbolises the very worst of police violence against women, and abuse of police powers.

Whilst attending the protest against increased police powers on 21 March 2021, Jasmine was badly beaten by police officers and bitten by a police dog. Photographs of her injuries have been widely circulated on social media, and received press attention in the Guardian at the time.

On 22 March 2021, Jasmine complained to the police about her injuries, who informed her that an investigation would be opened.

On 31 March 2021, Jasmine was informed by police that no investigation into her injuries would take place, and instead Jasmine was arrested and charged. It seems that the police used her complaint, and her comment in the Guardian, as an opportunity to avoid scrutiny for their actions and make an example of her.

On 31 January 2022, Jasmine faces trial for riot and arson in Bristol Crown Court, and could spend 14 years in prison.

We stand in unconditional solidarity with Jasmine. She could be any one of us. Police violence against women protestors like Jasmine is state-sanctioned violence against women. We launched the Kill the Bill movement last year in response to the police violence against women protestors at Clapham Common. It was evident then, as it is now, that police are drunk on the powers they already have, and Jasmine’s case is further proof that police cannot be trusted to have more. More police powers will lead to more violence against women.

The events surrounding the disappearance and murder of Sarah Everard ignited a movement against policing. Jasmine is part of that movement. This movement, to kill the police crime sentencing and courts bill, was ignited after Sarah Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a serving metropolitan police officer and after the police brutality meted out against mourners at Sarah’s vigil disgusted millions of horrified onlookers.

We attended the vigil for Sarah and everyone who faces gendered violence. We attended because the police told women to stay indoors when Sarah went missing, and when a vigil was called to stand up to this example of police sexism, the cops took every opportunity to intimidate the organisers into calling it off.  We attended because we would not obey police orders.

We attended on the principle of defending the right to protest, the right to freedom of assembly, and the right to hold the police to account when they rape and murder our sisters! When 1000 of us turned out to stand up to police intimidation, they lay their hands on us, they chased us, they forced us to the ground, they handcuffed us, and they carried us away into the dead of night on Clapham Common. This was just minutes away from where one of their own kidnapped Sarah Everard. The outcry over Sarah’s murder and the police brutality at the vigil in her name quickly pivoted towards the governments planned power grab the following week, which would give the police unprecedented powers to unleash violence against women, protestors and working class, Black and Gypsy Roma Traveller communities.

In the days after the vigil, Jasmine joined thousands across the country to protest the government’s plans to give the police any more powers through the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Jasmine joined them to stand up against police misogyny, police racism, police brutality, and police intimidation. When Jasmine came out on the streets, as is her right, she was beaten by police, and viciously attacked by police dogs. She went home with the evidence of police brutality across her body.

Jasmine has a protected right to protest, a right to assemble. In exercising that right, she made a complaint to the police about her injuries. In what seems like an attempt to avoid accountability and scrutiny, the police made a counter claim against Jasmine, accusing her of initiating the violence. This is an age-old tactic by the police. The cops cannot tolerate any challenge to their authority and have repeatedly shown that they will smear the reputation of those who seek to hold them for their violence and corruption.

The cops are so intolerant of any scrutiny, they will mete out violence against anyone who challenges them. Last week, we heard that Dr Koshka Duff was arrested for giving a 15-year-old boy a bust card while he was being stop and searched. She was pinned to the ground by police officecrs, strip-searched, subjected to misogynistic jokes and humiliation for exercising her right not to give her name. This can only be described as state sanctioned sexual assault.

The police sent police to infiltrate and spy on Doreen Lawrence’s justice campaign for her murdered baby boy Stephen. Spy cop tactics were used against a string of women in the climate justice movement such as Kate Wilson, who was targeted with state-sponsored rape to gain access to and dismantle a movement fighting against the destruction of our planet.

Since Sarah Everard’s murder, the media have finally shone a light on what some of us have known for years: that the police are an institutionally misogynistic gang that use their powers to beat, sexual assault and murder women both on and off duty. Thousands of reports of domestic and sexual violence by cops continue to go uninvestigated.

From 2015-17, 415 reports were made against officers who abused their position to commit sexual assault. And who do the cops target for sexual assault when they are on duty? Domestic and sexual violence victims, sex workers and drug users. Women they are banking on being unprotected, vulnerable and unlikely to be believed. What happened to Sarah Everard, to Doreen Lawrence, to Kate Wilson, to Koshka Duff, to Jasmine and the countless women subjected to violations and violence at the hands of cops show us that the police are the perpetrators.

The police have the monopoly on violence in our society, and the only way they can maintain that violence is through a culture of impunity. They know that if they are to maintain their authority, they must resist any criticism from outsiders.

If you give a class of people legal powers, handcuffs, tasers, spray, batons and even guns to carry out their legal powers and then ensure that they are only accountable to themselves, they are going to use those powers both within the law and outside of it, to hurt and oppress those most exploitered in our society. Because the job of the police is to side with and protect the powerful.

Police will repeatedly use their powers to ensure those most exploited stay in line, whether women, black and white working-class communities, Gypsy Roma and Travellers, migrants, queer, trans or disabled people. We are in the midst of an abolitionist movement based on solidarity between all those who face police oppression. Through deep community organizing such as community self-defense and CopWatch, we will resist every stop and search, every police assault, every police kidnapping, and we will make ourselves ungovernable to the police crime sentencing and courts bill and all police power. We will withdraw our consent.

If we have any hope of winning, we must also stand in active solidarity with all those facing police repression for holding cops to account. We are proud to stand in solidarity with our brave sister and comrade Jasmine. We demand that Jasmine is found not guilty of all charges and we make a promise here today: if they won’t give us justice than we won’t give them peace.

Sisters Uncut raise the alarm on police violence against women

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

  • Feminist protest group Sisters Uncut delivered a formal complaint to the Royal Courts of Justice about ‘routine and systemic violence against women’ in the police force.
  • As hundreds of people gathered, Sisters Uncut activists entered the Royal Courts of Justice to deliver a scathing complaint against police violence and brutality.
  • As the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill is set to pass, Sisters Uncut encourage people across the country to “withdraw consent” from UK policing, and join CopWatch intervention groups.

On Tuesday 2 November at 15:30, feminist protest group Sisters Uncut delivered a letter of complaint against the rampant violence against women within the UK police force.

Crowds gathered outside as activists from Sisters Uncut took the letter into the Royal Courts of Justice and read its contents for all to hear. As the sound of hundreds of rape alarms filled the Court, and whistles and chants filtered in from outside, their message was clear “Met Police are the perpetrators of violence against women and they do not keep us safe”. 

In typical Sisters Uncut style, smoke flares billowed whilst banners emblazoned with ‘Met Police Blood on Your Hands!’ caught the eye of all who passed by. 

Security guards manhandled activists out of the Royals Courts of Justice, hitting two black sisters in the face as the crowd chanted ‘Hey Mister! Get Your Hands Off My Sister!” Thankfully no one was seriously harmed or arrested, but the irony of this kind of treatment at a protest violence against women wasn’t lost on anyone who witnessed it.

The full letter, available on the group’s website here, reads:

“Today we withdraw our consent to police power. This is our super complaint on behalf of all women and all victims of police violence and corrupt criminal justice institutions.”

“The police claim Wayne Couzens was one bad apple, a lone monster, but we know 15 officers have killed women since 2009. We know colleagues referred to Couzens as ‘the rapist’. They did nothing. We know he exposed himself not once, but multiple times. They did nothing. We know he sent vile misogynistic racist and homophobic messages to colleagues on WhatsApp. They did nothing. We know that even after Couzens pled guilty, colleagues attended court to provide positive character references for him.”

“We know the police treated the family of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman with utter contempt: officers took photos of their dead bodies and turned the horrific violence they’d experienced into a joke. Women in Black, immigrant, disabled and working class communities bear the brunt of complicity in this corruption.”

The Met police officers who took selfies with the dead bodies of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman have still yet to face justice. The sisters were murdered in June 2020, and officers were charged with misconduct last week and made a guilty plea in a court hearing earlier today.

In the same week, two Metropolitan police officers made headline news for allegedly raping women. One officer, James Geoghehan, stood trial for rape last week. PC Adam Zaman has been remanded in custody for allegedly raping a woman on Sunday 24 October.

As police are set to be handed even more powers through the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts bill, Sisters Uncut call on everyone to sign up to their Police Intervention Training here.

At least 15 women have been killed by police officers since 2009. As reported in the Guardian, according to the Centre for Women’s Justice, one woman a week comes forward to report a serving police officer for domestic or sexual violence. 

The Guardian also reported that, according to the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, 700+ reports of domestic abuse were made against police officers between April 2015 and April 2018

Between 2012-18, there were 1,500 accusations of sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, exploitation of crime victims and child abuse) resulting in only 197 officers being sacked.

Speeches were delivered at the protest by members of Sisters Uncut, Feminist Fightback, Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike and Women Against Rape. Also joining the speakers was Patsy Stevenson, the woman who was thrust into the headlines when she was brutally pinned to the ground by Police during the vigil for Sarah Everard in March 2020.

Speakers spoke in solidarity with Bristol activist Ryan Reynolds (22) who was handed a severe custodial sentence last week for their part in demonstrations against police brutality and increased powers in March this year. Speakers made the clear connection between police violence against women, impunity in the courts, suppression of the right to protest and the systemic racism, misogyny and oppression evident in the Police force.

An anonymous member of Sisters Uncut said:

“We are raising the alarm on police corruption and violence in the UK – and spotlighting who the true dangers to our society are: the police. Police officers took selfies with the dead bodies of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman back in June 2020, and have only just been charged with misconduct. Meanwhile, several people who attended the Bristol Kill the Bill protest in March 2021 have already been sent to prison for a number of years. Time and time again, the police have shown that their priority is to protect themselves and their own power, whilst repeatedly enacting violence against women. And the courts are complicit: they are too busy prosecuting protestors to hold the real perpetrators of violence in our society to account: the police.”

Angela Lloyd, a secondary school teacher who has recently joined a CopWatch group in West London said: 

“I joined my local CopWatch group because after all the news this year, I can no longer trust the police. The relentless reports of the police’s violence against women has left me totally disgusted and disillusioned. It has felt like every single day since Sarah Everard was murdered, more stories of horrific police violence have come out, and nothing is being done to hold them to account, so it feels like it’s up to us to hold them to account now.”

Download images here – please credit @protests_photos

Notes for Editors:

  • Sisters Uncut are a direct action group protesting cuts to domestic violence services. The group was formed by domestic violence survivors and support workers in 2014.
  • Sisters Uncut are part of the ‘Kill the Bill’ movement – a coalition of over 40 activist groups who have joined forces and taken to the streets repeatedly since March to reject the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – demand no more police powers. 

Sisters Uncut are renowned for their bold protest tactics, including jumping on the red carpet at the ‘Suffragette’ premiere, dying the Trafalgar Square fountains red and blocking bridges across the UK.

LETTER: Raising the alarm on police violence against women

Monday, November 1, 2021

WE ARE RAISING THE ALARM ON POLICE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.

WE ARE CALLING ON THE PUBLIC TO JOIN US TO DELIVER A LETTER OF COMPLAINT ON BEHALF OF ALL WOMEN.

There is an epidemic of police violence against women in this country. Today we withdraw our consent to police power.

This is our super complaint on behalf of all women and all victims of police violence and corrupt criminal justice institutions.

This week, 63 police officers have been found abusing their powers for sexual gain. We know this is just the tip of the iceberg. 

750 Metropolitan police officers have been accused of sexual misconduct since 2010, only 83 were sacked. Police are a third less likely to be convicted of domestic abuse than the general public. This is a CRISIS.

The police claim Wayne Couzens was one bad apple, a lone monster. But we know 15 officers have killed women since 2009.

We know colleagues referred to Couzens as ‘The Rapist’. They did nothing. 

We know he exposed himself not once, but multiple times. They did nothing. 

We know he sent vile misogynistic, racist and homophobic messages to colleages on WhatsApp. They did nothing. 

We know, even after Couzens pled guilty, colleagues attended court to provide positive character references for him.

We know the police treated the family of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman with utter contempt: officers took photos of their dead bodies and turned the horrific violence they’d experienced into a joke.

Women in Black, immigrant, disabled and working class communities bear the brunt of complicity in this corruption. We withdraw our consent NOW.

There is an epidemic of impunity protecting the police across the entire criminal justice system. From the streets to the courts: the whole system is guilty.

We call out these institutions: the police, CPS, courts, Home Office, psychiatric institutions, the DWP, Family Courts, and Social Services.

Whilst violent police are protected, activists and mourners who protest police violence are punished.

Courts in Bristol are handing down draconian sentences to campaigners against police violence, like Ryan Roberts who is facing riot and arson charges for standing against police brutality. 

Yet the police who brutalised women at Clapham Common vigil have faced no consequences. 

The Government is pushing through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would give even more powers to police already drunk on the ones they have.

We are raising the alarm because the police are entirely unaccountable. There is no recourse to justice or safety for victims of police violence.

We will take action until we are safe from police. CopWatch groups are forming around the country to intervene in police activity to keep our communities safe. Expect us.

We raise the alarm with our sisters, siblings and communities at the sharpest edge of state cruelty. 

In rage and grief we will resist, we refuse to be silent.

Sisters Uncut
Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike
Women Against Rape
Feminist Fightback
Black Lives Matter

SISTERS UNCUT PROTEST WAYNE COUZENS SENTENCING, SAY “POLICE DON’T KEEP WOMEN SAFE”

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

  • This morning Sisters Uncut, the direct action feminist group who led the vigil for Sarah Everard at Clapham Common in March, gathered at the Old Bailey for the sentencing of Wayne Couzens. 
  • Court: Wayne Couzens arrested Everard under COVID regulations in front of witnesses who did not intervene. 
  • At least 15 women have been killed by police officers since 2009 (1) and one woman a week comes forward to report a serving police officer for domestic or sexual violence (2). 
  • Sisters Uncut: “Wayne Couzens used his power as a police officer to kidnap and rape Sarah Everard. We know that this is not a rare occurrence – one woman a week reports a serving police officer for domestic or sexual violence. The police don’t keep women safe, and they cannot be given more powers. We must resist the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.”
  • Sisters Uncut announce police intervention training and CopWatch patrols: we will intervene to stop police violence in our communities.
  • Sisters Uncut available for tv, radio and print interviews.

Contact: ​​07557477232 / [email protected]

This morning Sisters Uncut, the direct action feminist group who led the vigil for Sarah Everard at Clapham Common in March, gathered outside the Old Bailey for the sentencing of Wayne Couzens. From inside the court, Sisters learnt that Wayne Couzens arrested Everard under COVID regulations, in front of witnesses who did not intervene. 

Outside the Old Bailey, a representative from Sisters Uncut cited statistics from groups such as the Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ) to argue that the police do not keep women safe, and that the Police Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which increases police powers, must be stopped. 

Today, Sisters Uncut announces a series of training sessions on police intervention, and the launch of a nationwide network of CopWatch patrols. Women, and all those from marginalised communities must stand together to protect ourselves from police violence and all forms of gendered violence.  

Statistics about police and violence against women

As reported in The Times, according to The Femicide Census, at least 15 women have been killed by police officers since 2009

As reported in the Guardian, according to the Centre for Women’s Justice, one woman a week comes forward to report a serving police officer for domestic or sexual violence

The Guardian also reported that, according to the Bureau for investigative Journalism, 700+ reports of domestic abuse were made against police officers between April 2015 and April 2018

Between 2012-18, there were 1,500 accusations of sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, exploitation of crime victims and child abuse) resulting in only 197 officers being sacked.

Between 2015-17, 415 referrals were made for officers that had abused their position to sexually assault someone, with domestic and sexual violence victims, sex workers and drug users being most at risk of being abused by an on-duty police officer.

Sisters Uncut demand an end to police violence and a halting of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which, they state, will embolden police officers to perpetuate even more violence. 

Sisters Uncut call on everyone to sign up to Police Intervention Training here.

Sisters Uncut, as part of the ‘Kill the Bill’ movement – a coalition of over 40 activist groups who have joined forces and taken to the streets repeatedly since March to reject the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – demand no more police powers. No new misogyny legislation, no PCSC Bill. Kill the Bill.

Quotes:

A member of Sisters Uncut said “Today we learned that Wayne Couzens ‘arrested’ Sarah. He used his power as a police officer to kidnap and rape her.  We will never know what might have happened if somebody had stopped to film or intervene with Couzens when he ‘arrested’ Sarah. We do know that the police cannot be given more powers. Couzens was not one bad apple – it’s the whole institution that is rotten. We must resist the Policing Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, and we must work together to resist the police on our streets.”

Another member of Sisters Uncut said: “The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will enable the police to decide where, when and how citizens are allowed to travel, congregate, protest, and work. Sentences of up to 10 years are laid down for anything from a protest to a house party or even just a lone individual causing ‘serious annoyance’. We have seen how increased police powers – COVID regulations, in Sarah’s case – means increased violence. This Bill will create more unaccountable police powers and will enable more unaccountable police violence. It attacks all marginalised communities, and it is all of us that must resist”

Images from gathering at the Old Bailey for the sentencing of Wayne Couzens