For the 24th consecutive year the anti-abortion organisation Schreeuw om Leven (literally: Scream for Life) organized the so-called March for Life. In this annual march a growing group of people demands that abortion becomes illegal. The organisation consists of mostly conservative protestant Christians. From all over the country full buses drove to The Hague last Saturday to march against freedom of choice. The march started with a gathering where people sang christian songs and politicians of conservative christian political parties spoke, both Kees van der Staaij (SGP) and Chris-Jan Segers (CU) were present. After this the at least 5000 (!) participants had a silent march through the city (some people on twitter said there were 7000). The Dutch newspaper Gereformeerd Dagblad wrote about it (Dutch). It was virtually the only media outlet that reported the event.
This year, CHOICE for Youth organized a counter demonstration, and some of the members of the Feminist Club joined.
Preaching to the feminist choir
On the discussions on our Facebook page, there is certain topic that regularly resurfaces. Every once in a while people will critique online feminism, and I totally understand why. In our Facebook group, a lot of people post articles, pictures, videos, about feminist issues. The online discussions that follow are valuable. It is nice to see that people share these posts with others. Hopefully, some people are educated, grow and maybe also start calling themselves feminists. But a lot of the time, it can feel like preaching to the own choir. So shouldn’t our feminism be aimed more towards the outside? Shouldn’t we run to the streets and protest? Every so often someone will exclaim this in the Facebook group. Gathering likes within a feminist facebook group will hardly change the world right?
I think that sharing posts and reading up on feminist issues can be great. It’s very nice to find like-minded people. It gives a sense of belonging, knowing that you’re not the only one out there who thinks a certain way. Activism can take place online. We’ve seen that in the past when we collectively complained against sexist posters and more recently against an online campaign by health insurance company OHRA (in Dutch). And sharing articles is what got me personally involved with feminism. Without tumblr and twitter, I may have never been as active as I am now.
But going to streets does create change! For some examples, check out these articles on recent protests in Europe:
- The protests in Poland which resulted in the rejection of a new law proposal to ban all abortions.
- In the UK women’s rights groups blocked bridges, demanding a reversal of the budget cuts of specialist services for PoC survivors of domestic violence. (read more)
- In Iceland there is a recurrent protest were women leave their work early, to protest the wage gap.
These protests show that going to the street works. It also shows that one protest is not enough, however, they’ve gotten results.
So what can you do?
Last Wednesday, November 9th, we held another discussion night, this time on feminism and abortion. We started the evening with discussing the win of Donald Trump in the USA elections. His win can have devastating results to the abortion-laws in America.
Compared to the previous discussion nights, the turnout was quite low, however we had a very interesting and sometimes enervating meeting. We had more time to go in-depth and ponder on the issues at stake, so the quality of a discussion night is not in the amount of people that turn up.
The Feminist Club organised a benefit night for Women on Waves. We are happy to announce that we have made a donation of €185 to Women on Waves. We want to support their ceaseless effort in preventing unsafe abortions and empowering pregnant people in their mental autonomy.