The reason for their protest was in relation to a speech and book launch being given inside the hall by a rapist (Tom Stranger 'Matt Writtle') and his victim who was 16 when the rape occurred (Thordis Elva). This is a joint venture of both rapist and raped to tour and publicise their book title 'South of Forgiveness'. Tom Stranger is quoted as saying “Yes I am a rapist – but it's a weaponised term.' (The London Evening Standard).
Judith (Jude) Pamela Kelly, is the Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre and also founder of the WOW festival. It took a 2,364 signature petition to prevent Tom Stranger from speaking initially on Saturday 11th March, until the organisers rescheduled the event for 14th March at the Southbank Centre.
A number of protesters finally managed to force their way into the Festival Hall and managed to disrupt the Speeches and knock over a table with the book for sale on it.
The WOW website claims that the event “celebrates women and girls, and looks at the obstacles that stop them from achieving their potential.” It goes on to say “why is gender equality taking so long to achieve?” and also states one aim of the festival “provides a platform for interrogating this question.”
SISTERS UNCUT VALENTINES DAY ACTION IN HACKNEY 14/2/2017 During this rally and protest, a list of women who had been murdered by men, mainly partners and ex-partners was read out. This included the murder of five children (who were killed along with their Mothers). The list totalled 118 for the past year. Women present at the rally made it clear that these deaths were, in many cases, directly attributable to a lack of safe housing/accommodation that would enable women from violent relationships to leave dangerous environments and find refuge, but instead are being housed in many cases inappropriately, where safety is not the priority, but instead austerity and savings are. It was also pointed out that properties were unsuitable, in bad condition and hazardous to health of the families housed in them.