If you value women don't vote for Boris in the London Mayoral Election
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.
You have got to be kidding! On the day I tweet about what a great columnist Sonia Poulton at the Daily Mail is (I really admire the way she raises awareness of many social issues), Carol Sarler writes an article IN THE SAME PUBLICATION endorsing men who hit women if they, seemingly, ‘ask for it’.
Just to clarify, there is no excuse for any violence in interpersonal relationships (or any relationship for that matter). The occasional slap is extremely damaging, usually part of a wider pattern of coercive control in which the woman lives in constant fear of the next outburst.
I recently watched a strong independent 40 something young woman fall apart after she had been raped by a friend. She called me because I was someone she thought could talk to. She didn’t know who else to ring. She knew because of the campaign that there was a SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) in a neighboring town, but as she had been in bed for a few days while the effects of a suspected date rape drug wore off, she thought it was too late for forensic tests, and also didn’t want to travel far. Continue reading
I am utterly honoured (and slightly awed) to say that foreign correspondent and author of The Last Kestrel, Jill McGivering, will be the first person to publish a guest post on this blog on Monday.
Jill has worked in Afghanistan for the BBC (she is still a country reporter today) and has written two wonderful books: The Last Kestrel and Far From My Fathers House. I have read the first which I literally couldn’t put down. The second is on my Christmas list.
I hope you enjoy her writing as much as I do.
I was in class the other day and the topic moved onto alcoholism. A student in attendance had read some research from America which found alcoholism to be a disease. According to the student violence was found to be one of the symptoms of alcoholism. Her argument being that as such, you couldn’t punish an alcoholic who had been violent towards another person. I was horrified by the notion that alcoholism could be used as a reason not to hold a violent person accountable for their actions. What would that mean for a person who experienced violence at the hands of an alcoholic? Continue reading