By Julie Bindel – The Guardian.
The indefatigable CEO of the feminist charity Eaves, who has already come through so many setbacks in her life, isn’t about to let inoperable cancer slow her down.
hen the chief executive of feminist charity Eaves was awarded an OBE in 2007 in for “services to disadvantaged women” she admitted to feeling rather excited about going to Buckingham Palace, despite being a staunch republican. But handing her medal back four years later gave her, she tells me, far greater pleasure.
“It would have felt immoral to keep it while the government was cutting services for rape and domestic violence victims left, right and centre,” says Denise Marshall, 52, a formidable campaigner against male violence.
Marshall, whom I have known as a friend and feminist collaborator since the late 90s, is the brains behind a number of innovative projects that aim to tackle sexual violence and support its victims. She founded the first UK-based service for women trafficked into prostitution (the Poppy Project); a peer befriending scheme for sexual violence survivors (the Amina scheme) and a London-wide training programme that educates voluntary sector personnel in assisting women out of prostitution.
But last month Marshall was landed with her biggest challenge yet. Diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the stomach and small intestine, she is desperate to get well enough to return to work. “There is so much left to do,” she says, propped up in bed in the north-London home she shares with her partner and two miniature dogs. “I want to open a safe house for lesbian asylum seekers, and kick this heartless government out of office, for a start.”
Cancer has always been Marshall’s worst nightmare. Her mother, who killed herself in 2005, suffered from Munchausen syndrome, and used to take Marshall as a child to visit hospital cancer wards…read more.
Photo: The Guardian.