Our day at the Welsh Assembly May 11, 2006Posted by Winter in activism, the adventures of mind the gap, violence.
We’ve had a busy week on the feminism front here in Cardiff. If you remember, back in November we ran a poster campaign and a petition on the streets of Cardiff and throughout the 16 days of action to elminate violence against women.
Yesterday all the work finally began to come to fruition when we got to present the petition at the National Assembly for Wales.
Just to recap, we asked people to petition the Assembly to:
Fund more campaigns in the South Wales region to raise awareness within the general public about rape and violence against women, in all its forms, in the UK.
Provide more funding for local rape crisis centres and other organizations that deal with violence against women.
Improve the court systems. Currently in the UK, one in twenty women over the age of 16 has been raped. Only 1 out of 5 rapes are reported to the police. Fewer than 6% of rape cases reported result in a conviction.
In the end we got 243 signatures, which we don’t think at all bad for a small group on a controversial issue.
Leanne Wood, the Plaid Cymru AM for Social Justice and Equality has been supporting our group from the beginning and arranged for us to hand the petition over to Edwina J Hart, the Minister for Social Justice and Regeneration.
Six members of Mind the Gap made it on the day and we were delighted to welcome a representative from South Wales’s Older Feminist Network. Meeting older feminists is always great because they get so excited to find that there actually are younger feminists in existence and campaigning.
We were given the opportunity to make a presentation and talk through the issues with Edwina Hart and Leanne. Both are strong feminists and fully support our petition. We were surprised and thrilled when Edwina offered to reconvene in three months time and give us feedback on the petition. She says she will raise the issues with the assembly and seemed pleased to have something to show them. We came away from the meeting feeling encouraged by the enthusiasm we were met with and that we had been taken seriously.
We talked a lot together afterwards which I’m sure will form the basis for future posts. The experience has really helped us clarify our thoughts about rape and on what we want to do as a group on this issue. We agreed that activism must not be limited to work on the criminal justice system although that is essential too.
We feel that an enormous shift in social attitudes to rape is necessary and would really like to focus on proactive educational and public awareness work around this issue.
Everyone agreed that it was pretty shocking for us to be bringing a petition of this nature to the Welsh Assembly in 2006. We really should have come further than this by now.