See the sackboris2012 website for more info on the above campaign
I attended an event by the End Violence Against Women coalition yesterday. It was a mayoral hustle – where candidates from the main four political parties (Labour, Lib Dems, Green Party and Conservatives) talked about their policies to end violence against women, address the imbalance in gender and improve women’s rights in London. The aim was to get us to vote for their party in the next London Mayoral election.
What a sad day for politics! As @mariailarasi said on twitter “…Am thinking all candidates need some proper briefing on ALL VAWG [violence against women and girls] issues!!!”
To my mind, Val Shawcross from Labour and Caroline Pidgeon from the Lib Dems came out on top but Caroline was the only candidate out of all four that actually referred to women who had experienced violence as survivors rather than victims. At one point Val suggested there should be a victims commissioner. This is fine in principal (and possibly even helpful) but why the focus on the word victim? It’s negative, undermining, and is potentially re-victimising. I realise ‘survivors commissioner’ may be a little problematic as the term victim is more widely used, however let’s have something more imaginative, positive and inspiring please! Pah! Let’s be brave, instigate a culture change and use the word survivor instead.
Another “OMG all candidates need proper briefing on ALL VAWG issues” moment was the constant focus by all parties on the police as the answer to the problem of violence against women and girls. The police are victim focussed, meaning women are denied agency (see end for definition), and they can only react once violence has occurred – meaning they can’t get to the root of the problem or solve it.