Empowered women invoke sacred activism in protest against Southern Water 

Empowered women invoke sacred activism in protest against Southern Water 

Image and original artwork by Iwona Demko – image edited.

In what is set to be a powerful display of sacred activism, a group of courageous women will gather to protest against Southern Water, employing the traditional Anasyrma method, commonly known as ‘Raising The Skirt’.** This unique and culturally significant form of protest, deeply rooted in history, symbolizes a profound call for justice and respect for our natural resources. 

The protest will take place on Saturday, June 15th at noon at Riverside Park, Southampton, next to Cobden Bridge.

The protest aims to draw attention to the critical issues surrounding Southern Water’s management of sewage at Portswood treatment works on the Itchen River, which have significantly impacted the environment and local communities. Recent citizen science projects in the area demonstrated high levels of E.Coli in the river which endangers water users and wildlife. 

By invoking Anasyrma, these women are not only standing against the environmental degradation caused by Southern Water but are also honouring a time-honoured tradition of using the body as a site of resistance and empowerment. 

Anasyrma, or ‘Raising The Skirt’*, is an ancient and sacred form of protest that dates back to various cultures and traditions and has been used for millennia. Historically, it has been used by women to ward off evil, invoke fertility, and demand respect and shock opponents to bring them to their senses, delivering the message “Stop, think again. Your actions are outrageous and wrong”. In the context of this protest, it serves as a powerful reminder of the interconnectedness of humanity and nature, emphasising the need for responsible stewardship of our rivers. 

The organisers said: “Our protest is a call to action for Southern Water to take immediate and meaningful steps to address the environmental damage and water mismanagement issues plaguing our communities. By embracing Anasyrma, we are tapping into a rich legacy of women’s activism, using our voices and bodies to demand change. This is not just about water; it’s about preserving our environment for future generations and respecting the sacredness of our natural resources.” 

The organisers invite all members of the community, environmental activists, and supporters of women’s rights to join them in this peaceful protest.

They add: “Your presence and support are crucial in amplifying our message and pushing for a sustainable and just future. Together, we can hold Southern Water accountable and ensure the protection of our precious water resources.”

This event will launch the River Itchen Guardianship scheme, joining a global network of River Guardians. Their aim is to reclaim the river and restoring its rights, its health and its ecosystem using community-led education and action. 

For more information, contact Kirsteen Anderssen – kirsteenanderssen@yahoo.co.uk 

*This term was coined by Dr Catherine Blackledge in her book “Raising the Skirt: The Unsung Power of the Vagina”

  • In Common is not for profit. We rely on donations from readers to keep the site running. Could you help to support us for as little as 25p a week? Please help us to carry on offering independent grass roots media. Visit: https://www.patreon.com/incommonsoton