Here's one I wrote before I got distracted by Brexit...
Parliament held a
debate on 04 February 2016 considering the role that men can play to reduce
domestic violence against women. The House of Commons produced a briefing
stating that domestic violence is a ‘key
priority’ for the Government and an updated violence against women and
girls strategy is due to be published shortly.
recognized that campaigning groups said that men can play a part in preventing
violence in a number of ways which include:
1. Being a
positive role model to other men and speaking out against domestic violence,
helping to change attitudes and social norms.
2. Taking on a
leadership role in the community and using this opportunity to speak out
sexist, homophobic and other prejudicial remarks.
4. Not buying
magazines, movies or watch television programs that portray women in a sexually
degrading or violent manner.
stated that the cost of domestic violence is estimated to employers as some 3.1
billion. The total cost is an estimated 23 billion. There are various factors
taken into account, including the human and emotional suffering and the
subsequent suffering of children.
discussed the White Ribbon campaign and how local authorities can embrace this
campaign by becoming a member themselves, by reviewing code of conducts for
employee, by commissioning services ensuring that the principles of the Write Ribbon
campaign are written into new contracts.
inappropriate behaviour among young girls which were laughed off by other men
were cited; also examples of women being inappropriately touched by strangers
on the dance floor, in a bar, on a tube, on a train - it appeared prevalent in
public places where space is confined and men take advantage of the opportunity
to grope and inappropriately touch women.
stated that violence against women is everywhere, on every street a woman is
taking a beating while just keeping quiet and waiting for the ordeal to be
over. In every night spot in the country, some teenaged girl is groped and
shamed. Every school in the country has a kid whose time there is respite from
what they see at home. When a problem is everywhere, ‘we need everyone to join
in the fight to stop it’. The MP Geoff Phillips read out a letter from a
continued, this is not an 'us and them’ issue for women and men. Women fight for
their rights to live free from violence are not attacking men; they are
defending women. The more men who join us in the fight again violence against women,
the less it will happen. We must encourage every woman who suffers violence to
report it to the police. I wish I had.
Cat Smith, labour
MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood stated:
‘It is clear that
violence against women remains a significant
problem in Britain,
with 900,000 calls relating to domestic violence to the police up until March
2015. This equate to a staggering 100 calls every hour of every day’.
they suggested focus on education, having suitable role models to follow and
refuge provision. The Government has announced 40 million between 2016 and 2020
for domestic abuse services including refuges and a two million grant to
Women’s Aid and SafeLives to support early intervention. However, a better
outcome for women would potentially be if they could stay in their home with
their family whilst the perpetrator is removed and not allowed to move in with
the next partner to start the cycle of abuse all over again. This was the view
cited by Karen Bradley, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for the Home Department.
She stated as follows:
‘Women are girls
are far more likely to be victims of such crimes and we recognise that
inequality and gender play fundamental roles in violence against women and
girls. We all have important roles to play in challenging the cultural norms
and stereotypes that underpin violence against women.’
In my experience,
domestic violence can go unreported for many years. Eventually the victim is
strong enough to make a complaint either to the police or via the civil court via
a non-molestation application. The response of the perpetrator is often denial
and mud slinging. I have had cases where large men have accused petite women of
fighting with them. This stretches the imagination somewhat and even photographic
evidence of a black eye and a broken jaw does not halt such perpetrators from
denying the abuse and alleging a ‘tit for tat’ scenario. This makes the whole
situation more traumatic for the victim.
The difficulty in
a lot of case is a financial one. The woman will be left without a home for
herself and often her children. The offer of a refuge is a short term solution
and is not a preferred option for many.
Two women a week
are murdered by their partner or an ex-partner. This statistic is shocking, but
to shift the cultural norm that it is acceptable for a man to use violence against
a woman when he is provoked or out of control, education is required at every
It is not
acceptable to bully another human being. The domestic violence laws have been strengthened
recently to take into account forms of domestic abuse which fall short of
violence. Often domestic abuse increases in severity and frequency.
been used in the past showing a fist followed by a bouquet of flowers. The
remorse and apology the next day claiming undying love and the fact that it is
only because of this love the man was driven to such behaviour requires a
unified voice to shout out and proclaim that this is wholly unacceptable. Love
does not involve violence. It would be ridiculous for a woman to hire a
mercenary to beat up her husband if he was late home from work and respond the
next day that this was only because she loved him and he had driven her to it.
Such a scenario is laughable in its ridiculousness. Men and women need to
rethink the social norm that domestic violence has become.
The debate states
that every woman who undergoes domestic violence should call the police. Unfortunately
the police switch boards would be jammed. Most women consider it is a waste of
police time. What do you do if at 2 a.m. your husband refuses to allow you to
sleep, switches the light on and pulls the duvet cover off of the bed? You are
scared and the only reason you cannot go to sleep is because he will not let
you and will not leave the room. If you go to the bathroom, he kicks the door
in. Do you call the police? The answer is probably no because you consider that
the police have more important things to do, however, such behaviour is wholly
unacceptable. The above scenario happened to me an experienced divorce
lawyer and, yes I did not call the police. And yes the domestic abuse continued, worsened and yes I swiftly ended the marriage. And yes his disruptive behaviour became worse. It is not an exaggeration to say that he tried to destroy my life and career. I now have 9 civil injunctions on him - 4 for life and 5 for 5 years... there were 14 criminal investigations...
The only way to
end this is via zero tolerance akin to Mayor Galliano’s campaign in New York. Whether there
is enough traction and goodwill to facilitate this will be bourn out as to how
the Government approaches the next stage. The mention of the cost of 23 billion
may well promote a conservative government to take action against this abuse. Educating
your children that such behaviour is wrong, if at the same time you allow such
behaviour to continue in your own home, is nonsensical. Each of us can make a
small step to bring about this change and we need to start now.