The sister of the murdered Bolton teenager has been delivering a strong message to schools across the UK to help end violence against women.

Gemma Aitchison, from Westhoughton, tragically lost her sister Sasha Marsden in 2013 after she was stabbed 58 times in the head, neck, and face in a “sexually motivated” murder in Blackpool.

Sasha was only 16 at the time, and the nature of the crime led to Gemma setting up the Yes Matters Campaign, which helps victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

Gemma recently visited schools across Greater Manchester, in partnership with Women’s Aid and the Home Office, to teach children about healthy relationships, domestic abuse and where they can get help if they need it.

The Bolton News: Sasha MarsdenSasha Marsden

She said: “I think it’s very important because we recently learned that a child as young as seven is exposed to porn, so we need something to combat this, and show what a healthy relationship is.

“When we go to the schools, we talk about respect for yourself, how we treat other people, if something is unhealthy, we let them know who they can talk to.

“There are special sessions for kids who have disabilities as well as working with interpreters for those who need it, and it is completely free.”

Some of the teaching at the schools includes challenging gender stereotypes, and to reaffirm positive ones.

The Bolton News: Gemma Aitchison and Alex CollinsonGemma Aitchison and Alex Collinson (Image: Newsquest)Gemma, who is also the chair of GMCA’s Violence and Women and Girls Working Group, has presented research on the harm of gender stereotypes to the European Parliament, and the impact of pornography to Amnesty International.

She has also shaped the Parliamentary APPG on Pornography Regulation and worked on the child sexual exploitation prevention policy.

She campaigns for girls in Afghanistan, women in the Kakuma camp and undertakes projects with girls in Bradford.

Gemma added: “I want to say that there are a lot of campaigns saying that things are getting better, but I don’t think they are.

“I think this because porn has become more available, and more normalised, and influential to even younger people.

The Bolton News: YES Matters campaigners in BoltonYES Matters campaigners in Bolton (Image: Newsquest)“The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 did change though to give legal protections to kids, which they didn’t get before; it used to be no protections until you were 18.

“The age range most at risk is also between 16-22.

“Greater Manchester Police recently found that sexual harassment in the street happens the most during the time schools open and close.

“And in what we teach, we make it clear that everyone should feel safe and feel they can ask for help, and that they don’t need to follow stereotypes.”

Sasha’s mum Jayne initially led the campaign appealing for murderer David Minto to not be released from prison, after being sentenced to 35 years.

The Bolton News: Sasha and mum JayneSasha and mum Jayne (Image: Public)Gemma has also created a petition calling on the Government ( to remove the 28-day time limit for applying for the lenient sentence scheme for sentences to be reviewed when someone has been convicted of murder.

Jayne tragically died following her second battle with lung cancer last month, but Gemma says that her mum is “still with her in spirit”.

Gemma was also recently recognised for her work, after being nominated in the Inspiring Women Awards.