[TW: Police Brutality, Sexual Assault]
I’m writing my comparative study of US Suffragists and UK suffragists. I have the utmost respect for these women. The hell they went through to get women the right to vote is unbelievable. The fact Alice Paul was arrested 5 times in Britain and then again in the US makes me have even more respect for her than I originally did. Lucy Burns, Alices co-leader in the National Woman’s Party, was arrested 5 times in Britain and 7 times in the US. The women in the US and UK had to face police brutality on a daily basis. They knew the police would not stop men from assaulting them and knew they would encourage it. The women were sexually and physically assaulted by the police and men throughout their years fighting for suffrage. They spent time in prison for no reason at all because they were never charged with a crime. When they were charged with a crime they were charged with “obstructing traffic” or “obstructing police.” They lived in the worst conditions in prison as well. The accounts of being force fed are beyond horrific. I’m surprised I was able to read them without crying.
I had to give a presentation on these women last week. After my presentation one woman asked, “how would you describe these women?” I couldn’t think of a word to describe them. My professor just said “they are badasses.” That pretty much sums it up.
photo of Lucy Burns:
photo of Alice Paul: