Thursday, 12 November 2009

Students and Reclaim the Night

A message from Liv Bailey, NUS Women's Officer......

As we get closer to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is on the 25 November, I just wanted to email with a couple of ways you can get involved in our priority campaign over the next few weeks.

Reclaim the Night London

The National Reclaim the Night march will be held in London on the 21st November. This is a great chance for students to unite and stand against violence against women.

Students from all over the country are descending on London for the march - let’s mobilise and get more students at the march and rally than ever before.

Join the facebook group for more info -

**Gather for mass action during the day - 2pm, Trafalgar Square**

On the day of the march, the women's campaign is organising a mass action for students ahead of the march that evening. We will be gathering images, statements and signatures against violence, as well as leafleting for the march that evening.

Meet at 1.30pm, by the fountain in Trafalgar Square. Will finish by about 4 - leaving plenty of time to get to the start of the march.

Coming? Email me - - so I can get an idea of numbers of people to expect.

**Getting to London**
There are a few coaches travelling down to London for the march (and in time for the mass action). If you are interested in getting on a coach, or want to organise a group for a coach, get in touch with the contacts set out below.

· WALES: NUS Wales Women's Officer Estelle Hart will be organising a coach from Wales to London. Email her on for more info and to reserve a place on the coach
· NORTH: Sheffield Uni Women's Officer Amy Sutherland will be co-ordinating a coach from various points in the North of England. The coach will likely be stopping in Sheffield, Bradford and Manchester. Drop me an email to find out more and to reserve a place -
· SOUTH WEST: I'm looking in to the possibility of a coach from the South West, if this would be useful for you, let me know -
· NOTTINGHAM: The Nottingham Women's Officer is organising a coach from Nottingham to London, and she has some spare places. Contact me if you are interested in getting on the coach, and I'll put you in touch -

Your images against violence

As part of our campaign, I'd like you to send me images against violence, and images of women in your Union. I'm after:
· Images of women doing normal things around campus - eg in lectures, in the library, playing sport etc
· Images of students taking action against violence - eg, at reclaim the night marches, doing stunts, or even just your women's group holding up placards or signs against violence
· More creative images that make a statement against violence - eg, designed images, artwork or even short films
This could be an activity to get your women's committee of wider student union involved with, or you might just be keen to get a camera and get thinking yourself. Maybe you already have images you can send in. The images received will be used in different ways in the Stop Violence Against Women Priority Campaign - so please make sure you have the permission of people you are photographing before you send me the image. Any questions, get in touch -

Please send me your images by the 23 November.

Violence Against Women Survey

As part of the campaign, we are launching a research project in to the Violence Against Women Students. This will be the first time anyone has specifically looked at the ways in which violence impacts on women students.

The first stage of our research is an online survey, which will be launched in the next couple of weeks. I'll send the link out as soon as it is ready to go, but please get ready to send this survey to as many women as possible - we want to ensure we get as many women as possible to fill it out.

Violence Against Women Posters

We will be launching in the next couple of days a range of posters against violence and objectification. Watch the website for the designs going live at the end of this week - If you want to pre-order your posters, email me -

Reclaim the Night Leeds

LUU and Leeds Met are running a Reclaim the Night march on Saturday 28 October.

March - 6pm @ Leeds Art Gallery (first half - women only, second half - open)
Rally and clubnight - 8.00pm onwards @ Faversham

Contact -
or -

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Victory for Demand Change!

From Object....

BREAKING NEWS: Victory as Peers vote for women, not pimps and punters!

Victory as Peers vote for women, not pimps and punters!

The Demand Change! Campaign is delighted to announce a major victory for women exploited by the sex industry, as last night the House of Lords voted in favour of Clause 14 (formerly 13) of the Policing & Crime Bill[i], putting the rights of exploited women over those of pimps and punters.

In focusing on the demand for sexual services, Clause 14 shifts criminal liability away from people exploited through prostitution and places responsibility firmly on the shoulders of those who contribute to commercial sexual exploitation by choosing to purchase girls, boys, women and men for sexual use.

This is a huge achievement for the 67 women's and human rights organisations[ii] which supported this bill, and which campaigned tirelessly to obtain justice for the women, children and men who have for so long been exploited by the sex industry. Many of these organisations attended the successful Demand Change! mass support rally in Parliament Square just before the vote[iii], calling on Peers to `Vote for Women, not Pimps and Punters!' (see photos of the protest here

Comments from Eaves chief executive Denise Marshall:
"This is fantastic news. Legislation to make it an offence to pay for sex with someone subject to force, who has been exploited, is a no-brainer. It should clearly be illegal. I am delighted for the women whom we support, who have a right to live without fear of force, violence or exploitation, and for whom this law is crucial.

"The vital next step in the process is for those exploited in prostitution to be fully decriminalised and provided with high quality support to exit the sex industry safely, and the Demand Change! campaign will continue to press for this."

Comments from Anna van Heeswijk, OBJECT:
"Clause 14 brings the buyer out of the shadows and says that as a society we put the rights of vulnerable women, children and men above the right of punters to buy sex. This is a major victory for all those who have been exploited – many of whom shared their stories in a film screened in front of a packed audience in the House of Commons on the eve of the debate – and it is also a victory for all those who have joined the campaign to end commercial sexual exploitation by tackling demand. Thank you Peers for listening to our protest chants and for deciding to `vote for women, not pimps and punters!'"

Testimony from "Angel", a survivor of prostitution:
"I had to say I enjoyed it and that I chose it – it's what the johns want to hear, and as a prostitute I existed for their pleasure, my body and words were there for their pleasure. The real me was effectively mute.

It makes sense to target the johns and criminalise them, because they hold the money and they have all the power."

Monday, 2 November 2009

Demand Change Rally TOMORROW (apologies for getting the day wrong!) still not too late to write to peers....

BIG thanks to all of those who are currently attending the Demand Change film screening and debate, I had the day of the rally wrong- it is in fact tomorrow and I hope that LOTS of you are able to come along to show your support and lend your voices...

The Demand Change! campaign is lobbying for Peers to support Clause 14 (formerly 13) of the Policing and crime Bill to criminalise the purchase of sexual services from an individual who has been exploited.

This is a crucial first step towards tackling the demand for prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation and timing is critical as the House of Lords decides on Nov 3rd whether or not to support these proposals.

Its still not too late to write to peers as urgent action...

Info on how to do this....


Prostitution is exploitation - end the demand!

Public rally calling for peers in the House of Lords to "vote for women, not pimps or punters"

Bring a placard or banner from your organisation to show your support and pass this onto 'supportive' friends and colleagues

For more info then email: as venue is TBA- only pass this info to trusted people, or call Elly on 07595672964 for last minute queries.

Information again on urgent action writing to peers....

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Demand Change public rally and film screening- TOMORROW

Only two days to go until the House of Lords debate clause 13 as emailed last week. Its still not too late to write to peers as urgent action...

Information again on how to do this....

Two major events both TOMORROW


Demand Change! Public Rally

Prostitution is exploitation - end the demand!

Public rally calling for peers in the House of Lords to "vote for women, not pimps or punters"

Bring a placard or banner from your organisation to show your support and pass this onto 'supportive' friends and colleagues

For more info then email: as venue is TBA- only pass this info to trusted people, or call Elly on 07595672964 for last minute queries.

TOMORROW 6pm-7:30pm House of Commons

“I had to say I enjoyed it and that I chose it – it’s what the johns want to hear, and as a prostitute I existed for their pleasure, my body and words were there for their pleasure. The real me was effectively mute.”

The Demand Change! Campaign has worked with women who have been exploited through prostitution to produce a short film of video testimony exposing the reality of prostitution and trafficking. This hard-hitting film gives a voice to the silent and silenced majority who do not see prostitution as just another job and who call for urgent action to be taken to stop commercial sexual exploitation.

Speakers include:

Julie Bindell (Journalist & Campaigner)
Fiona MacTaggart (MP)
Diane Martin (TRUST)
Cate Briddick (Rights of Women)
Denise Marshall (Eaves)
Anna Van Heeswijk (OBJECT)

For more information visit

Information again on urgent action writing to peers....

Friday, 30 October 2009

Workshop TOMORROW- 'Fighting the New Sexism and Homophobia on Campus'

Beth Evans, co-founder of Mind the Gap: London Student Feminists and Trans Rep of Oxford LGBT will be facilitating a workshop


In response to the spread of sexist culture on campuses – from Miss University contests to pole-dancing classes – and the recent wave of homophobic attacks in London and Liverpool, we have added a new workshop to the conference agenda.

with Judith Orr – author of Sexism and the System
and Tami Peterson – from NUS LGBT campaign and Birkbeck SU

2.45-3.45pm at the Conference 'ANOTHER EDUCATION IS POSSIBLE' tomorrow, at SOAS

Another Education is Possible Conference
Saturday 31st Oct, 11am-5.30pm, SOAS

Education is under attack. As the recession bites and the bankers make off with their
billions, it is universities and colleges that are at the sharp end of the cuts. Across the country, departments are being closed, courses cut and lecturers sacked. As funding is slashed, 100,000 students who applied for university were left without a place
this year. Youth unemployment has hit a million—and one in five young people
have no job or education. And the government could soon try to lift the ‘cap’ on top-up fees,
creating a free-for all where the cost of education could double, triple or worse. But when we fight, we can win—the wave of student occupations proved that. We need to
come together to build.

Our conference will be hosting workshops on the battle for education, fighting fascism, challenging the new sexism and homophobia on campus, how to organise an occupation, plus more. Speakers include Terry Eagleton, Judith Orr, Lowkey, Joe Glenton, Vestas worker- see the full timetable below!

Lunch will be provided by the SOAS detainee support group.

Entrance is £5

Opening 11am-12noon

The battle for education
Terry Eagleton
Lynda Nwike Stop the Cuts at Kings campaign
Alison Lord Tower Hamlets college, Branch Chair UCU, Poplar Site
Phemie Mattheson NUS NEC

Workshops Round 1 12noon-1pm
1. After Question time –how do we fight the BNP? Lowkey musician/LMHR
Anindya Bhattacharyya Unite Against Fascism
Assed Baig President Staffordshire SU

2. From Palestine to Afghanistan - resisting imperialism and war
Lance Corporal Joe Glenton war resister Carol Turner Stop the War Coalition

3. Using the media:
Hilary Aitken London Student
Tom Walker Socialist Worker journalist

4. Building solidarity with workers struggles
Juan Carlos Piedra Justice for Cleaners
Mark Campbell London Met UCU Branch Secretary

1pm-1.30 LUNCH provided by SOAS Detainee Support Group

Debate –What kind of education do we want? 1.30-2.30pm
Wes Streeting NUS president
James Haywood NUS NEC

Workshops Round 2: 2.45-3.45pm5. How to organise an occupationClare Solomon SOAS occupation
Estelle Cooch LSE occupation

6. How we use our student unions:
Tom Wills President Sussex SU
Jenny Jones Campaigns Officer Goldsmiths SU

7. How do we stop climate change?
Ian Terry Save Vestas Campaign
Julie Filer Campaign Against Climate Change

8. Fighting the new sexism and homophobia on campus
Judith Orr author of Sexism and the System – a rebels guide to women’s liberation
Tami Peterson NUS LGBT campaign Bisexual Rep & Birkbeck SU

Plenary: Building a democratic, campaigning student movement 4-5.30 pm
Report backs from workshop and main motion. Plus closing remarks from
Mark Bergfeld Essex Uni
Gerry Lecointe Postal worker and CWU member
Jane Hardy UCU NEC
All speakers in personal capacity

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Urgent Action on Prostitution and Lapdancing before 3rd November- please forward to all lists

TAKE ACTION on Policing and Crime Bill to be debated in the House of Lords- 3rd November

Demand Change! is a joint campaign by Eaves and OBJECT which aims to promote an increased understanding of the myths and realities surrounding prostitution and calls for prostitution to be seen and widely understood as a form of violence against women.

Demand Change! calls on the Government to fulfil its multiple international and domestic obligations to tackle demand for prostitution. Current government proposals are a welcome step in this direction, and we fully support Clause 13 as a crucial step towards ending the exploitation of women and men through prostitution.

To see an end to exploitation through prostitution, we further urge the Government to adopt the ‘Nordic model’ which tackles demand for prostitution by decriminalising those who sell sexual acts whilst criminalising those who purchase them (as adopted by Sweden, Norway and Iceland) – as well as providing adequate resources to help people exit prostitution.

This will be a crucial step towards ending the exploitation and abuse experienced by many women and girls in prostitution.

For more info visit or email for PDF packs

This is a busy time for supporters as we are campaigning for reform on prostitution and lap dancing, both contained within the same Bill.

We are asking you to email peers and urge them to support Clause 13 of the Policing and Crime Bill, which will be debated in the House of Lords on 3rd November. Clause 13 criminalises the purchase of sexual services 'from those controlled for gain'. We ask you to act now as this Clause is in danger of being diluted or removed altogether.

The more personalised you can make your email the better. If you work for an organisation and can also send an organisational briefing this would be extremely persuasive.

MODEL LETTER ONE: Prostitution

Your Address


Support Clause 13 of the Policing and Crime Bill to tackle demand for sexual exploitation

I am writing to you in your capacity as a Member of the House of Lords who has previously shown an interest in the issue of exploitation through prostitution and trafficking. I am deeply concerned that measures aimed at tackling the demand for prostitution risk being weakened or removed altogether as they pass through the House of Lords. I ask that you support crucial measures to tackle the demand for exploitation through prostitution, as contained in Clause 13 (Part 2) of the Policing and Crime Bill which will have its Report Stage debate in the Lords late October/early November.

Prostitution is a human rights violation – which, whilst affecting some men and boys – is profoundly gendered and is defined by the United Nations as an act of violence against women. Whilst some women state prostitution is their choice and describe their experiences as empowering, such women are a small and privileged minority. There is a silent and silenced majority of women who feel unable to speak out about their experiences – which have far more in common with violence, abuse and despair than ‘empowerment’. Their voices must be heard and considered by any person overseeing policy in this area.

Moreover treating women merely as sexual objects through commercial sexual exploitation rather than as individuals contributes to attitudes underpinning gender-based discrimination and violence.

Yet the UK has historically failed to deal with the far-reaching human rights implications of prostitution. Despite the intrinsic harm of prostitution and the vulnerabilities of the women exploited through it, current legislation effectively gives men the right to buy sexual acts and exploit this vulnerability. Logically, there is no viability to supply without demand, and it is undoubtedly the demand for sexual acts from the empowered buyer (punter) that fuels sexual exploitation and the proliferation of the sex industry.

The UK has multiple international and domestic obligations to tackle demand for prostitution. However the law currently places the burden on those involved in prostitution – and not on those whose demand fuels the industry. I believe that a progressive society should put the interests of the most vulnerable first – and not continue to support a legal framework which facilitates the exploitation of vulnerability.

For all these reasons I urge you to support Clause 13 of the Policing and Crime Bill. This seeks to criminalise the purchase of sexual acts from a person ‘subject to force’. The measure is an important first step towards policies undertaken by Nordic countries which have criminalised the purchase of sex acts, whilst decriminalising those who sell them and assisting them to leave prostitution. This model has been proven to reduce demand for prostitution and trafficking – and has given women and girls the choice not to be exploited as commodities. In this context it is unsurprising that Nordic countries consistently top global gender equality and human rights polls.

Please help to shift the burden away from women and girls in prostitution to the punters whose demand drives a highly gendered form of sexual exploitation. I look forward to hearing from you on this important issue.

Yours Sincerely Your Name


Please email as a BCC (blind carbon copy), if possible, to the following peers:
(to do this you simply put your own email address in the Send box and paste the following emails into the BCC box),,,,,, ,,,,, ,,,,, ,,,,,,, ,,,, ,,,,,,, ,,

If you receive a reply please tell our partner's, EAVES, the nature of the response at: or Nisan Kesete, Eaves , Unit 2.03 Canterbury Court, Kennington Park , 1- 3 Brixton Road, London SW9 6DE

Thank you for taking action at this crucial stage.

Like to do more? :
Find out more about the DEMAND CHANGE campaign here
Support OBJECT with a donation here
Continue to receive OBJECT newsletters (not usually so frequently!), join OBJECT today


Reforms to license lap dancing clubs in the same way as sex shops is about to be debated in the Lords. We have until 3rd November to make sure the Lords adopt our proposals to make licensing compulsory, not voluntary, for local authorities and to make sure venues are not exempt if they hold lap dancing less than once a month!

Get Lobbying ! Send our model letter to one, or more (!), of the key peers we have targetted below.

Model Letter

Use our online model letter here or below.
Add any personal experiences of lap dancing venues and send to any of the peers listed below:

Your Address

Insert Peers Name Here
The House of Lords


Dear Peers Name

RE: Please take action to strengthen reforms to lap dancing club licencing

I write to you as a member of the House of Lords who has previously shown an interest in the poor licensing of lap dancing to ask you to take action in the Policing and Crime Bill Report Stage debate (Clause 26, Part 2) - on 3rd and 5th November - in order to improve proposed reforms.

As you know, the Government has proposed to allow lap dancing clubs to be licensed in the same way as sex shops and sex cinemas. This will give local communities greater control in the licensing of lap dancing clubs and place clubs under greater scrutiny – thus better protecting women in the industry and stemming the normalising of a branch of the sex industry.

However the Policing and Crime Bill proposals are seriously flawed on two counts:

1. The new licensing regime will be optional for local councils – leading to a patchwork licensing system which the industry which will be quick to exploit. Local communities will face a postcode lottery over whether they actually get a say in licensing and performers will continue to face poor working conditions as clubs migrate to areas of weaker regulation.

2. The proposals also exempt venues holding lap dancing less than once a month. Thus pubs and bars which hold ‘lap dancing nights’, catered for by lap dancing agencies, will be excluded. This already significant sub-market of the lap dancing industry is likely to further expand.

I therefore strongly urge you to speak in favour of amendments to ensure reforms are applied universally and contain no frequency-based exemption. These amendments will be be tabled by Baroness Joyce Gould, during Report Stage of the Policing and Crime Bill - on 3rd and 5th of November.

Without these amendments, Clause 26 of the Policing and Crime Bill will contain significant loopholes and represent a crucial missed opportunity to tackle commercial sexual exploitation.

I look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.

Yours sincerely



Please write to one, or more (!) of the key peers we have targeted:

o Lord Bilmoria
o Baroness Neuberger
o Baroness Northover
o Lord Norton
o Baroness Uddin
o Baroness Wilkins
o Baroness Grundy
o Baroness Flathers
o Baroness Goudie
o Lord Hylton
o Baroness Jay
o Lord Listowel
o Baroness Ludford

If you receive a reply please send a copy to our partners at the FAWCETT Society:
or Kat Banyard, Fawcett Society, 1-3 Berry Street, London EC1V 0AA

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Thursday- protest against the BNP Platform on Question Time

The erosion of democratic rights and incitement of racial hatred has began with a screening of Question Time audience applicants for antifascists, and with the BNP launching attacks on other panellists on grounds of race.

Nick Griffin has stated that

"Once we're in a position where we control the British broadcasting media, then perhaps one day the British people might change their mind and say, 'yes, every last one must go'. But if you hold that out as your sole aim to start ...with, you're not going to get anywhere. So instead of talking about racial purity, we talk about identity."

In the BBC granting a platform to the BNP, the BBC sets a dangerous precedence; legitimising the BNP as a political party. In doing so they legitimise their views. This is anti democratic as the BNP wish to disenfranchise a huge cross section of British society. They are giving the ‘right’ to a platform to a party that seeks to take away the rights of others.


As feminist activists I propose we must unite with anti fascist protests to no platform the BNP and expose them as a party of hate, division and social exclusion. This is in the name of cross liberation campaigning, but also because the BNP seek to impinge on women’s rights directly, and their brand of ‘women’s rights’ tarnish the name of feminism which is an obstacle to all women’s rights advocacy. This has been recognised by a motion passed at the last NUS Women's Committee meeting.

• BNP members have publically glorified and ridiculed rape.
• Further policy to clamp down on reproductive and LGBT rights, banning mixed marriages, and banning religious dress and food from public arenas, disproportionately affects women.

• The BNP use women’s rights as a tool to incite racial hatred, for example saying that all of the sexual assaults in Norway this year have been committed by ‘third world immigrants’.
• This false claim that sees feminism as a repository of white western supremacism can lead to an antifeminist backlash in the defence of multiculturalism.

• In BNP strongholds aggression and harassment on the basis of race and religion rises.
• Many students have been directly affected by encounters with fascist groups in the last few months, such as the BNP’s presence at pride, and recent riots in Birmingham and Doncaster.
• The affects of this are not restricted to the targeted social groups, but affect the welfare and unity of the entire student body.


PROTEST against the BNP platform on Question Time this Thursday- 9am-7pm

To join our delegation, meet up SOAS Steps 2pm or 5pm to travel to White City BBC Hq

Or see the Unite Against Fascism website for local demos at regional BBC studios, which are taking place at 5pm across the country-


• Sign this statement by sending an email marked "Question Time"
• Complain to the BBC by phoning 03700 100 222 or online at
• Join the Facebook group protesting at the BBC decision at
• Take the UAF petition round your workplace or community:
• Make a donation to Unite Against Fascism at