We See You, We Are You. An International Women's Day TIPA tackling male violence

Mar 26, 2021

Written by Anja Madhvani

Content warning: male violence and sexual assault

Edit: Sales of ‘We See You, We Are You’ raised £2,217.93 for each of the charities the project supported. Those are Sistah Space, The Pankhurst Trust, and White Ribbon. Thank you to all those who bought the beer, and to each of you that takes the time to read the below. We will continue to work with each of these organisations to support women.

There is something unique about the circumstances we find ourselves in. Life has slowed down, there is time to think and reflect, time to stew, time to feel anger, but most importantly, time to put energy into affecting positive change.

 

In the same week that we celebrated International Women’s Day, the tragic case of Sarah Everard unfolded in the media, and we saw police violence in the handling of a silent vigil. Soon after, MPs moved to push a bill that limited our rights to peaceful protest, and that placed the value of statues above that of women. I noticed something desperately sad across all my social media feeds. Every post from a woman was about a time she had felt unsafe or a time she had been harmed. Women were sharing statistics, countless examples of victim blaming and perpetrators getting off lightly. The majority of men on my news feeds were either silent, or going about their posting as normal. This is not a criticism, merely an observation about the space between us in our response to these events.

As the anger and hurt grew louder and louder, I got to thinking about the International Women’s Day TIPA that sat in tank in the brewery. That week my to-do list included working with the team to choose a name for the beer - we’d intended to find some inspiring words from a woman we admire, as we did with the other IWD releases - and creating the copy for the labels. But it all felt wrong. The first two IWD releases we put out this year were a celebration of the women on our team and across the wider industry. To release another celebratory beer at a time like this would feel tone deaf.

There had been a deal of excitement amongst the team as we planned for our International Women’s Day brews and the livestream, and we were all thrilled when Victoria shared the final edit of our video. Twenty three women make up 50% of the team here at Cloudwater, and their work spans the whole of the business, from production and packaging to warehouse, retail, bartending, and management. In the video we talk about our jobs, some of the challenges we face in the beer industry, and our hopes for the future. In both our video and the IWD livestream, we tried to keep things positive, and we shied away from challenging topics. 

We had a whole thread on Slack where we figured out what we should and shouldn’t focus on, and what would be comfortable and interesting for viewers. In the livestream we touched on language and how men could adjust this to make beer spaces on and offline more inclusive. We talked about the microaggressions of everyday sexism, but we kept it fairly light. We didn’t get stuck into what it’s like to walk home from a minimum wage bar job at nighttime because you can’t justify spending an hours wage on a taxi. We didn’t talk about experiences of harassment at beer festivals. We didn’t talk about the harm that comes to women every day. We thought it would sound negative, or like we were man bashing. We’re also fortunate to work in a company that has built an environment that supports us, we don’t just hire folk and hope for the best, we’re active in making sure that we cultivate a space that works for the people in it. That’s what we wanted to showcase, that it’s possible to create an environment that supports a diverse team.

But to talk about women in beer and not address the issues of safety and violence against women is to do a disservice to each and every one of us. It is a disservice to every woman who is missing, every woman lost or harmed whose story is not covered in mainstream media - disproportionately women from minority ethnic backgrounds - and every woman who gets home at the end of the day quietly carrying the weight of yet another moment that made her feel small and vulnerable. 

I cannot tell you the times that we joke about these dreadful experiences. We ignore persistent comments and jokes, we laugh off men masturbating at us on public transport, and shrug off unsolicited explicit photos. We are so used to harassment while we are out running or doing our errands that we don’t even bother mentioning it half the time. We file it away under ‘things I wish I didn’t have to put up with’. Women are often forced to give a great deal of energy to calmly fielding unwanted attention from men, because we don’t know how they will react if we say what we really think. Women lie about having partners, instead of saying ‘I don’t want to talk to you’. Conversations take place between friends in which we think of ourselves as ‘lucky’ because nothing ‘that bad’ has happened to us. These are women who have had drinks spiked, been mugged, groped, and stalked. Women who have been flashed, been urinated on whilst out running, received threatening and explicit messages from strangers, or have been harassed in the street in broad daylight. What we are saying is that we feel ‘lucky’ that we have not been raped. You do not need to be a father or a brother to care about this. You just need to be human.


With all of these discussions happening in every corner of our female friendships, we wanted to use this final International Women’s Day release to carry a message and raise funds to tackle the issue of male violence.


The Triple IPA ‘We See You, We Are You’ is a dedication from all of the women on our team, to every woman who did not make it home safely. 


The artwork is by Emma Cole who works in our HR department. Emma’s tapestry is a folksy interpretation of roads and fields. The words on the back of the can were written by myself and are about walking home.


Take the long route, skin bathed in electric light. 

Soft hands, ready with metal claws.

Melodies for one ear only.

Don’t forget three rings.


100% of our profits from the sale of this beer will be split between these three charities that are each tackling male violence towards women by facing the origins of male violence, and providing support for people harmed by male violence.

White Ribbon

White Ribbon’s work centres around engaging with men and boys to do the necessary work. Their mission is for all men to fulfil the White Ribbon Promise, to never commit, excuse, or remain silent about male violence against women. They work with ambassadors, organisations, and policy makers to raise awareness, educate, and campaign for change. Our founder Paul has signed up to be an ambassador, and part of this will involve recruiting 100 men to take the pledge. I hope that as a brewery we can use this to reach out into the industry and have the conversations that are needed to protect all women working in beer and hospitality, as well as the women that we welcome into our spaces as visitors.


Sistah Space

Sistah Space work with African heritage women and girls who have experienced domestic or sexual abuse, or who have lost a loved one to domestic violence. Their service aims to assist those who are apprehensive about going to mainstream services without support, such as the police. They provide support, advice, and practical help, supplying women with hygiene products, underwear, sanitary items, and other essentials. They work with their local community to provide these. They want to help African heritage survivors and victims to report abuse by creating a safe cultural venue for disclosure in a confidential environment.

The Pankhurst Trust

The Pankhurst Trust is a Manchester based charity incorporating Manchester Women’s Aid and the Pankhurst Centre, a museum detailing women’s activism. They provide refuge for women in need, and also aim to educate and promote equality. They help women who are in need of safe housing, providing mental and physical health support, as well as education to give them access to a better future. They also provide a space for women to come together to socialise and get involved in creative projects.




We’re proud to be supporting charities that work in different areas of tackling the issue of male violence, White Ribbon taking on the root of the problem, and Sistah Space and Pankhurst Trust supporting women who have already been affected by male violence. We will be sharing more from these charities in our newsletters over the coming months, and hope that you’ll join us in supporting their work. Chaps in particular, please check out White Ribbon and think about how you can get involved.


All Women, but Not All Men

Of course, we know that not all men are perpetrators of violence. The problem is that enough men diminish or overlook the behaviours amongst their peers that become the foundations for dehumanisation or hatred to arise and perpetuate.


Statistics show that 97% of women have experienced sexual harassment. I personally cannot think of a woman I know who has not. In a viral post last year, the question posed was a simple one. Women, what would you do if there were a 24 hour window of time without men. The answers were heartbreaking. ‘Wear whatever I want’, ‘go out dancing and not worry about being touched’, ‘listen to both headphones and go walking at night’ ‘leave my drink unattended at the bar’.


It’s a natural response, to become defensive when you feel that you are being criticised and lumped in with a bad bunch. But I politely ask any men reading this who feel that defensive reaction to take a moment with the discomfort before you respond. Listen to what women are saying. Nobody is asking you to be perfect, but we are asking you if you could do more.


We have all been in situations where we didn’t step up and intervene when we saw something bad happening. I know I have let myself and others down in this respect. This conversation isn’t about blame or shame. It’s about asking all men to step up, even if it might feel embarrassing or scary. If you hear someone make a lurid joke, ask them to think about why that is harmful. If you see a man wolf whistle or cat call, tell him it’s not OK. If you are walking at night and see a woman on her own, cross the road, make it clear that you don’t pose a threat. Talk to your male friends and colleagues about the problem and ask how you can collectively be part of the solution.

Proper DIPA

Our 8th DIPA in our  Proper DIPA series is out this week, called Proper DIPA NZ edition, a perfect example of the beautiful things that happen when modern meets tradition.We've infused Southern Cross and NZ Cascade to accentuate the JW Lees yeast strain.This DIPA excels in both body and hop intensity, delivering a hearty hop medley characterised by quintessential NZ hop aromas of white grape, all culminating in an exceptionally dank finish.Enjoyed in the video by JW Lees brewer Matthew and available in our webshop now. 

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