#16Days: Erasing The Victims of Men’s Violence

We hear the statistic so frequently. In the UK, two women a week are killed by a current or former partner, and in most cases, there is documented proof of abuse in the relationship.

As a quick note, non-abusive men do not kill their former or current partners. Non-abusive men do not use intimidation or threats against women’s lives to ensure their wishes are met. Just because abuse isn’t documented in some of these murders, doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. It merely wasn’t recorded. So when people tell me a man who has murdered his current or former partner was ‘such a nice guy’, I call bullshit.

But the two women a week statistic is a lie. These statistics aren’t being exaggerated, or overestimated, much as those who hate women would like to claim otherwise. Instead, they ignore 60 – 83% of domestic violence related deaths.

On Monday, an acquaintance of mine raised the subject of suicides in relation to domestic abuse; an area which seems to be largely ignored. I found a statistic that sent me reeling into a state of shock; that 30 women a day attempt suicide in order to escape domestic violence. For those who were wondering, that works out to 210 a week, or 480 during the 16 Days of Activism.

Of those 210 attempts each week, between 3 and 10 women successfully commit suicide. I’ve found conflicting statistics, with Enfield’s Health and Wellbeing service stating the higher number. [x] Yet these women’s deaths are largely ignored when measuring the extent of men’s violence against women. Men may actively kill two women a week, but their violence is factored in to at least five deaths nationally a week. We serve the victims of men’s violence no justice if we ignore those killed by suicide.

We need better discussion around the invisible fatalities of men’s violence. We need for women to know that there is support out there; not just in relation to domestic violence, but with regards to suicide and helping these women to survive. We need for those involved in helping women who are experiencing domestic violence, or who have done in the past, to be aware of the number of women who attempt suicide daily. We need those who help victims and survivors of domestic abuse to know the warning signs in relation to suicide,and for them to receive training in how to help women who are contemplating suicide. And we need to hold men accountable when their violence is a factor in a woman’s attempt to take her own life, whether she survives the attempt or not.

But most of all, we need to give these women hope. And we need to let them know that they are not alone.

Further reading:

Refuge: Taking Lives campaign -
http://refuge.org.uk/takinglives/

Enfield Health and Well-Being: Domestic Violence - http://www.enfield.gov.uk/healthandwellbeing/info/15/enfield_place/187/domestic_violence

Rape Victim calls for law change as three women a week commit suicide to escape violent partners -
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/rape-victim-calls-law-change-2644286

Domestic Violence, Forced Marriage and ‘Honour’ Based Violence -
Volume 2

Victim’s suicide leads to fight for new law-
http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/Victim-s-suicide-leads-fight-new-law/story-19996117-detail/story.html

Refuge call for 16 days of fundraising against domestic violence -
http://www.feministtimes.com/refuge-calls-for-16-days-of-fundraising-against-domestic-violence/

The Return of The Dragon

As a lot of you will be aware, I’ve been rather inactive of late. I would offer an apology, but I’ve had more important things to deal with. Even real-life contacts have seen and heard less from me, with the exception of my sister-in-law and a very small group of friends.

In addition, I couldn’t help but feel a little disenchanted; a moment I suspect every feminist from every wave has had at some point. Maybe I’ve been oblivious over the past few years, but the summer in particular seemed to spurn a lot of women against each other. I found it necessary to withdraw somewhat, for my own well-being.

I’ve not ceased writing, nor anything with regards to feminism. I have, however, been writing elsewhere, albeit intermittently. But I have also been focusing on my fiction writing, and have probably written more in the past four months alone than I have in the past ten years.

I shall be attempting to resurrect this blog. It will take time, and I’m not naive enough to believe otherwise. But returning to this is something I feel I need to do. Not for anyone else, but in one of the first entirely selfish decisions I’ve made in a long time, for myself and myself alone.

#TwitterSilence? Silence won’t save us.

In light of the abuse aimed at Caroline Criado-Perez, Sunday 4th August was declared by some a Twitter ‘Trolliday’, or a day of #TwitterSilence. 

Of late, I’ve not been as active on Twitter. At times, silence comes naturally. For me, it’s the result of a need to retreat instinctively. For all my boisterous moments, I tend to need just as much time (if not more) to reflect. Natural silence is something that should be applauded, celebrated even, in the right circumstances. But it’s when silence is forced that concern is raised. And concerned, I am.

The Twitter Silence has seen some high profile names raise the issue of online abuse, bringing it to the forefront of discussion. But the irony strikes me with a certain bitterness. Our oppressors want our silence. Will they really strike up some new found empathy  with us in the light of a 24 hour twitter boycott? Doubtful. It merely teaches those that hate women that they can drive us off, in our hundreds. Thousands, even. 

At what point did we decide we stop discussion in the vain hope it would get our plight noticed? Silence from women is applauded by those who hate women. Our absence would be celebrated. #TwitterSilence teaches those who aim to silence women that it’s achievable. They merely need to push hard enough. 

Instead, we need to shout back louder. They want silence. I’m sure as hell not willing to give silence as a reaction to abuse. I know this is late in the day. I know many have logged off for the day, and won’t be back until the end of Sunday. But those who fall silent, those who co-ordinated the silence seem to be missing a key point. We have brought about changes over the past two weeks; From Caroline’s campaign to stop the erasure of women on UK banknotes, to the campaign for Twitter to tighten up it’s abuse policies and make reporting easier – These campaigns haven’t come about through silence, nor has silence contributed to their success. Silence doesn’t work. Instead, we need to keep shouting back. 

We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t. – Gloria Steinem

#RadFem2013; As The Misogyny Continues, “Watabouttehmenz!?”

#rapeculture

#mansplaining

#misogyny #lesbiphobia

#CookiesForTheNiceGuyNigel

I assume the trans community are pissed about statements like this, too?…

#TeamYouShouldBeAngryAboutThis

#RapeCulture

#TeamWatabouttehmenz #NotEvenGoingToExplain

#CompulsorySandwichTweet

#CompulsoryBullyingOfCaitlinMoran

#CompulsoryExtremistLabel

#CompulsoryGodwinsLaw

That old killer, misandry, eh?

What?… #Facepalm

#Lies

I just don’t even…

 

Nick Ross: It’s Not Child Porn, It’s Child Rape, And It Shouldn’t Be Appealing To Your “Curiousity”.

“We’re all inquisitive. I had never seen, until I started working on Crimewatch, child pornography… I think if someone came to me and said: ‘Would you like to see what all the fuss is about?’, I’m sorry, I probably would say yes.”

- Nick Ross, as cited in The Telegraph; June 2013

Every once in a while, someone opens their mouth and utters something so preposterous that I think I’ve woken up in some alternate reality. Today’s reality being that proposed by Nick Ross… One in which the rape of children is acceptable, and curiousity is an acceptable justification for viewing the aforementioned rapes. But this isn’t an alternate reality. It’s rape culture at full swing.

Child porn is child sexual abuse; the rape of children filmed and distributed to men who wish to rape children. Allowing Child Rape to thrive under the guise of “porn” allows the continued and furthered rape of children; a spiralling vortex. The producers care not why the rapes they film is being viewed; they care only that it’s being viewed.

 

Silent? Not me… A post about hate speech, and why I won’t be shutting up after all…

 

 

There’s a problem with being a feminist. Every now and then, you find those who believe men should have the right to abuse, rape and kill women will hit back, in what they think is the worst way. And when you’re a radical feminist, with a male child, they believe they have an extra line of attack. Or they can attack your experience of rape. Or they can send you thinly veiled threats, in the style of an illiterate Blondie/One Direction fan. They think they can scare you into silence. Instead, they forget they’re sending these threats to someone who borrows insults to add to her profile, and, even at the worst points in their life, takes solace in writing. So, to my darling little trolls, thank you for the writing prompts. If you have any more, you know where to submit them.

Now, firstly, if you have shit with me, then fair enough. But the fact you’ve chosen to attack my son by proxy says a lot about you. The fact I can love and care for a young boy, whilst challenging men’s violence against women terrifies some people. It doesn’t add up. According to them, I’m some frothing man hater, who must be channelling my hatred of men onto my son. I confuse you all, don’t I? In the MRAs mind, I’m supposed to hate men. Seriously. If you think I hate all men, you’re not paying enough attention. Seriously, your stalking skills are somewhat lacking. But the fact you’d drag a child into your attacks concerns me. Do you do the same with children in your own life? I suspect so. Which, you know, saddens me a lot.

As for attacking my experience of rape, telling me that I deserved it… I know this didn’t come from the same troll. I’m feeling slightly honoured that I have more than one. But seriously. Telling someone they deserved to be raped? I’m assuming you’re from “Justice For Ched”. You’re not helping your cause. At all. I’m open about my experience for a reason. I know I didn’t deserve to be raped. No one does. It doesn’t matter if they’ve drunk the bar dry, taken every drug available to man, whether they’re prostitutes, or even the person who sent me that “question”.  Seriously. None of your victim blaming bullshit is going to make me believe anyone deserves to be raped. If men could refrain from raping, that would be lovely, thanks. And if people could stop applauding men for raping, that would be even better.

But, a quick note to the MRAs, the Justice For Ched brigade… Those who hate women THAT much… Other people may shut up because of you. But surely you all know by now that any silence from me is temporary, and most likely coincidental. Seriously. I have a life outside Twitter, Facebook, WordPress. You know what I feel is relevant. And, to Kathryn Rice, yes, that does included that detail about my nephew. I’ve never claimed to be perfect. Nor have I claimed that my family are. But my feminism includes being honest. Sometimes brutally. And not standing for bullshit, either. I can promise you. My family’s actions don’t define me as a feminist, but they sure as hell encourage my feminism. And no, that doesn’t mean I’ll step down from challenging your bullshit.

Feminism Isn’t Just About The Middle Classes… Stop Letting Middle Class Feminists Speak For Us

There’s an old cliche which is oft repeated; “Feminism is a middle class phenomenon.” This is supposed to be one of the concerns about feminism, often uttered by those very women decrying radical feminism as not being intersectional enough.

I’m, to put it bluntly, an underclass feminist. I’ve spent the past five years of my life trying to escape the benefit trap, only for such attempts to be thwarted by debt, financial difficulty, and ill mental health. I had the privilege of completing a year of university, before having to leave due to the effects of post traumatic stress disorder, depression and crippling debt caused by several outside factors. For me, phoning the university to withdraw from my course was just another reminder of the fact I wasn’t middle class, unlike my course mates.

Today’s New Statesmen Feminism debate was another harsh reminder of how the liberal feminist movement forgets the women it begs radical feminism to remember. I mean no disrespect to each of the panellists, before I start. But liberal feminist conferences seem to be dominated, primarily, by white middle class women. And judging by the feedback from #nsfem, these are white, middle class, heterosexual feminists. These are the women who are likely to have successful careers, or can afford to stay at home with the kids. These are women likely to have been able to finish their university education, because they weren’t caught in the poverty trap at the same time. These aren’t women who were at risk of female genital mutilation, or forced marriage during their childhood. And these probably weren’t the woman who felt pushed into prostitution due to the poverty trap. They’ll have their own battles, but these were battles which went unanswered at #NSFem See, recent welfare cuts are affecting women all over. But #NSFem left this battle unchallenged. The question of why the panel was all female was asked, but audience members begged for talks of male violence against women, using the #NSFem hashtag.

But I’m sick, to the back teeth, of the feminism class wars. Whilst the lib fems are busy bashing the rad fems for “not being intersectional enough”, they ignore that they’re guilty of exactly the same thing. As an underclass feminist, with I find myself frequently having to decline turning up to feminist events. It would be fucking wonderful to say, just for once, “yes, I’ll definitely be at…” whichever feminist event is coming up. It would be wonderful to know I wasn’t trapped by poverty, and know that I could attend any interview without worrying too much about how much I’d be spending on travel/interview clothes.  It’d be a fucking dream to know that I could stand up there, and speak about the issues facing working class women, alongside my sisters. I’d love to know that there was a lesbian feminist stood next to me, talking of her experiences, or a woman of colour talking of her own oppression. I can’t speak for them. Likewise, the middle class feminists can’t speak for me.