One in three women will be victims of rape or violence at some point in their lives. So what can we do about it?
It was my privilege to organise ‘Speak it, Hear it! – a fund-raising poetry event held in Clapham earlier this month as part of One Billion Rising (www.obrfestival.uk) which campaigns for an end to violence against women. The evening featured contributions from invited poets Sue Johns and Lisa Kelly, open-mic excellence and a heart-stopping performance from women refugee poets.
The communal poem Set Her Free was created by a group of 12 women in association with Women For Refugee Women (www.refugeewomen.co.uk) which works to help empower women who have sought asylum in the UK. Grassroots coordinator Marchu Girma, introduced two of the original poets, Jade and Joy, whose moving stories helped create Set Her Free. Their performance was brilliant, deeply moving and very humbling.
Click here to watch the full version of Set Her Free: https://youtu.be/EQEEthsuF08
Open mic poets were in fine form during ‘Speak it, Hear it!’ and included Angela Brodie, Laura Collins, Patricia Foster, Jane Grael, Hilaire, Susan Hodgets, Rachel Joseph, Frank Mariani, Anne McCaulay, Camilla Reeve and Caroline Vero.
Subject matter ranged from inappropriate police behaviour and domestic violence to the tempting of Adam by Eve and one woman’s experience of Paris burlesque. A humble apple even got a bit (or should I say bite) part in one of Sue Johns’ poems.
Sue Johns’ latest poetry collection Hush was published by Morgan’s Eye Press in 2011. Sue also writes and performs theatrical monologues and works with art/word collaborations. She is currently working on a series of poems about prostitution. www.suejohns.co.uk
Lisa Kelly’s finely observed poetry tackles both personal and social issues. Her poems have appeared widely in leading literary magazines. She is a board member of Magma and her pamphlet Bloodhound is published by Hearing Eye.
The One Billion Rising Festival was organised by Goblin Baby Theatre Company (www.goblinbaby.com) and staged at The Bread & Roses Theatre, Clapham, between 7th and 14th February. Events included sell-out performances of The Vagina Monologues and The Princess Monologues, stand-up comedy, play readings, burlesque, drumming, body confidence workshops, an art exhibition and talks on topics such as human trafficking and respecting femininity.
It was a brilliant and inspiring night, Claire. Thanks for organising it – excellent hosting skills too!
The evening was excellent. Such good poetry from everyone. ‘Set Her Free’ was a inspiring. Claire there is a play in that poem. If they haven’t already thought of it may be they should. More people need to hear what they have to say.