Last night students of Edinburgh University hosted a slam poetry session in the Paradise Palms to raise awareness for Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre.
The popular event was part of a week-long charity event held annually for the people of Edinburgh and aimed at raising money and awareness of the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre, a shelter that aims to support and protect victims of rape in Edinburgh.
The ERCC was established in 1978 and over the last 38 years has provided emotional and practical support to victims of sexual violence. Their work relies heavily on funding, which is where initiatives like Equalise come in.
Started three years ago by students at the University of Edinburgh, Equalise is an initiative of a week-long run of events centring around the theme of gender equality in order to raise money for the ERCC. They kicked things off last night with a bang, with their slam poetry night seeing five women from different backgrounds get up on stage and communicate their personal experiences as women.
Harriet Fay and Georgia Dagher, two of the organisers of Equalise explained the amount of hard work and collaboration it took to get the project up and running.
“We’ve been planning for months. We’re part of the International Society at Edinburgh and Equalise is a branch of that, so we decided what kind of events we want to do and anyone who was interested in September came together and started planning.” explained Fay. “We decided to do it at this time of the year because it’s the time where they usually get the least amount of funding.”
“We knew students who did spoken word and we asked friends, then word spread and people started contacting us.”
The events are all framed with a feminist edge, promoting female empowerment and confidence. The spoken-word performers, while all having different stories, all challenged the stigma behind issues such as sexual assault, gender fluidity, same-sex relationships and female beauty standards. One speaker in particular told a story of domestic violence with a bittersweet tone, while another contested tired clichés of same-sex kissing in front of the male gaze. .
With more events ranging from a ceilidh on Thursday and a sure-to-be-heated debate on gender politics in post-Brexit Britain, Equalise is a unique opportunity to listen to exciting political discourse, have a dance and raise money for vulnerable women (and men) across Edinburgh.
For more information on Equalise and their week of events, head to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/equalise.in.aid.of.ercc/
For more information on the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre and how to donate, head to their website: http://www.ercc.scot/