Video highlights: justice matters for women in and out of prison

Catch up on the highlights on conference on social injustice and criminal justice

Betty Makoni, CEO Girl Child Network Worldwide

Hear the story of Betty Makoni, CEO Girl Child Network Worldwide, that mvoed the room to tears. Source: Global X

How to combat domestic violence and the number of women in prison. No small task but this was the recurring theme of the conference yesterday Justice Matters for Women, hosted by Women in prison and the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies.

The event brought together representatives from the Howard League, Women in Prison, Sisters Uncut, Inquest and User Voice and several other charities and activist groups that help some of the most vulnerable and marginalised women in society. They discussed the links between social injustice and criminal injustice and ways to prevent one from leading to the other. The day combined talks and workshops with creative brainstorming sessions about how to break the cycle that pushes many vulnerable women into the criminal justice system.

We covered the whole day as it happened and in full on our liveblog. In the afternoon, the team split up and live tweeted from different workshops. But there were some bits you really needed to see for yourself, which we broadcast live on Periscope.

Of course Periscope videos last only 24 hours – but fear not! We saved some for you here.

From child street vendor to internationally acclaimed human rights actvist

There were many moving and thought-provoking speeches but there was hardly a dry eye in the room after an introduction from Betty Makoni, CEO of Girl Child Network Worldwide. She explained how women in Zimbabwe are controlled by fear and silence, and what happened when she dared to break that mould. Betty had an abusive home life, was raped at six, and sold onions and tomatoes on the street while at school.

But she overcame these problems to found Girl Child Network, which empowers and educates hundreds of thousands of girls across Africa. Betty has been lauded for her human rights activism against gender based violence. You really have to hear it to believe it.

“When you start to challenge the status quo, you become a fighter.”

Betty called on the audience to campaign, to challenge the structures and systems that imprison women, both psychologically and physically.

Sisters Uncut

Sisters Uncut, direct action group say: safety is a right not a privilege

Sisters Uncut, direct action group say: safety is a right not a privilege. Source: Victoria Seabrook.

The afternoon was filled with various workshops on inspiring, organising and tools for bringing about change. Sisters Uncut are a women-only group who believe that women are hit hardest by austerity cuts.

They take ‘direct action’ to protest against government cuts to domestic violence services. Never heard of it? Neither had we, so here’s an explanation:

Essentially it’s unannounced protest designed to disrupt people’s routine, in order to draw attention to a cause. Here they explain what they’re doing to try to support domestic violence victims:

Consensus: making big decisions in big groups

Next up was a taster session on consensus decision making with Rhizome, a co-op that trains community activists and organisations in mediation and consensus building. Consensus is a non-hierarchical way of reaching a decision in groups.

Hannah Clayton, taking the session, gave each participant a card with a different direction on it, for example: sit in a chair; stack the chair; put all the chairs in the middle of the room, and so on. Watch how successful we were each trying to achieve your goals on our own…
(Hint: you get the idea after about 20 seconds.)

The group then discussed how the different groups could have reached solution so that each different group could have achieved their goals.

Meanwhile, Katerina was covering two of the other workshops on organising a protest and Craftivism. Catch up on her Tweets from them over on the liveblog.

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