Tag Archives: misogyny

“Fat and anxious”

It probably wasn’t the greatest idea to read the searing Ockenden report (on maternity care at the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust) whilst recovering from a gynae op myself. Reeling from the misogyny of my own experience there was so much evidence to point to the fact that I was not alone.

A year later I don’t remember much detail from the report, just the miserable stench of its accounts of patriarchal and hierarchical condescension towards women patients in their hour of need, sometimes with their newborn baby’s life hanging in the balance.  One comment, however, lingers in the memory: “Fat and very anxious”. 

A third or fourth degree in childbirth (a tear from the vagina to the anus) is legendarily painful. On p 132 of her report on the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS trust Ockenden highlights the following account: “In 2014 when a woman was reviewed in this clinic after a third degree tear the doctor wrote in the notes: “Well but fat and very anxious . Can try for a vaginal birth, risk of re-occurrence low”. This has echoes of a 2022 Panorama interview with a woman with a fourth-degree birth tear who, when she alerted doctors to the fact that she was passing stools through her vagina, was initially dismissed as having a “bit of a fanny fart”. 

Fat and anxious. This also stopped me in my tracks because it mirrored my own hospital notes from last year saying that I was “concerned about going up a dress size”. This was a clinician’s description of my request (after being gaslighted for 7 weeks) for an urgent review after a catastrophic reaction to the insertion of a coil which had seen me go up from a size 12 to a size 20 in a matter of days. I reached out for help on ten occasions, on nine of these I was told it would all settle down. Only on one occasion, at A and E, was I taken seriously. Much was made on the other occasions of my anxiety. Wouldn’t anyone be racked with anxiety when a medical device had caused them to expand like a barrage balloon without explanation?

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Stella Creasy is right – trolls who make malicious complaints should face consequences

Being a woman on the internet in possession of an opinion has long been a wild ride. For most women in public life, abuse is so much worse than a man would get. And I think most of us are so used to it that we barely flinch unless the abuse directly threatens us or the people we love.

The misogynistic trolls who spend so much of their time trying to make life miserable for women they don’t agree with rarely face consequences. Now one of them has found a new way to persecute a high profile feminist and has got away with it.

Labour MP Stella Creasy has described in today’s Times (£) how a misogynistic troll went as far as reporting her to social services, saying that her views on violence against women and girls put them at risk. How on earth wanting to make misogyny a hate crime puts anyone at risk is beyond me.

Thankfully her local social services didn’t take long to realise that it was actually Stella who was at risk. But when the MP complained to the Police, she was shocked at the outcome:

The police accept that his behaviour is harassing but aren’t treating this as a crime because “as you had kids he was worried that your views would affect their upbringing, this belief was genuine and not by any sort of hate”.

At no point have they expressed any concern about the impact of this incident on my children, instead claiming that, as I am an elected representative, I should “expect” to be challenged in this way.

As Stella says, this is just another example of the institutionalised misogyny of the Police laid bare in the Casey Report.

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25 April 2023 – today’s press releases

  • ONS debt stats: Voters will never forgive the Conservatives for their economic vandalism
  • Government announces refusal to make misogyny a hate crime
  • Sewage vote: Scandalous that Conservative MPs have blocked the Sewage Discharge Bill

ONS debt stats: Voters will never forgive the Conservatives for their economic vandalism

Responding to new ONS debt statistics which show net borrowing the 4th highest since records began, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

The Government’s shambolic mismanagement added billions to the UK’s borrowing whilst leaving our economy growing at a snail’s pace. Voters will never forgive the Conservative party for the economic vandalism of the

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Another Daily Mail misogyny fail

I woke up around 6am this morning. After rearranging dogs so that I wasn’t clinging to the edge of the bed, I should have gone back to sleep. Instead I made that error of picking up my phone and looking at Twitter. Ok, so I might have wanted to see what people were saying about last night’s episode of Death in Paradise, but that’s not really an excuse.

What I saw enraged me. A Daily Mail headline asking “Did living in the shadow of his high achieving wife lead to unthinkable tragedy?” This referred to the murder of Epsom College head Emma Pattison and her 7 year old daughter by her husband.

That was bad enough, but then I discovered the previous day’s headline. Apparently the murderer was “desperate to do more with his days” after his business failed.

Suggesting that either of these things is remotely an excuse, particularly in a headline, perpetuates attitudes that have no place in a civilised society.

The media tries to construct a false narrative that women being murdered by their domestic partner  is “isolated” rather than two or three occurrences per week.

 

For as long as men have been abusing and murdering women, their excuses for doing so have carried much more weight in society than they deserve.

Women’s behaviour, clothes, sexual history, earnings, weight, or careers are just some of the things that have been blamed rather than the behaviour of the perpetrator themselves.

I am fed up of the media gaslighting women into believing that they are responsible for the behaviour of abusive men.

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Misogyny laid bare – Laura Bates and Winnie M Li at the Edinburgh Book Festival

Imagine if, in the wake of the shocking murder of a woman Police went door to door in the area telling men that they could only go out in pairs, telling them that we know that one of you is murdering women, but we don’t know who.

It would be utterly absurd, wouldn’t it? And the outrage in the Daily Mail would probably melt the polar ice caps in seconds.

After Sabina Nessa was killed last year, Police went round telling women in Camden not to go out alone. Why should women constantly have our lives restricted because of the behaviour of men?

At the Edinburgh Book Festival, Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates challenged us to think creatively about how we can get rid of the injustices faced by women.

She was talking about her book Fix the System, not the women, in which she highlights how society’s structures reinforce each other in failing to recognise and tackle that unfairness.

It tends to be the pretty, white, middle class women who hit the headlines, but, as Laura pointed out, a woman is murdered every three days in this country. We don’t hear about them. If we did, it would be impossible to ignore the pattern of behaviour and institutional bias that puts them in danger.

Apparently the top Google search about Sabina Nessa’s murder was “what was she wearing?” As a society, Laura said, we are prepared to believe that murders and rapes are isolated incidents, which happen because of something some silly woman did wrong, whether it was her attire, the amount she had to drink or who else she had ever consented to have sex with and in what circumstances.

The media reinforce these attitudes, leading to a situation where a third of jurors believe that if a woman was drunk, she was complicit in her own rape. This environment is not conducive to bringing perpetrators to justice.

She looked at the language often used when reporting about rape:

We don’t see discussions of theft described as non-consensual borrowing yet they call rape non=consensual sex.

Nobody would say to a victim of arson that because they went to s bonfire party 3 years ago they maybe they secretly enjoyed a good fire.

And then there’s the fear kicked up by the media that good men are losing their jobs because of false allegations of sexual assault. That fear, Laura said, is completely unfounded. A man is 230 times more likely to be raped himself than to be falsely accused of sexual assault.

She talked about how the Metropolitan Police were so quick to dismiss the murderer of Sarah Everard, at that time a serving officer, as one bad apple. However, we know of the awful culture of misogyny throughout its ranks.

We therefore have  media, law enforcement and justice systems all stacked against women, so you turn to politics to help and find a chronic under-representation of women in positions of power and a disproportionate number of men accused of sexual misbehaviour.

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Wera Hobhouse calls for misogyny to be made a hate crime after research reveals women killed by men in 28% of murders

House of Commons Library Research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has today revealed that 28% of all murder cases since 2016 are women murdered by men.

Since the brutal murder of Sarah Everard last year in March, the data shows that 109 women have been murdered where men were the main suspect, representing more than 2 women per week. This is out of 414 murder victims overall, equalling 26% of all murder cases.

Our Women and Equalities Spokesperson, Wera Hobhouse MP has slammed the Government for turning a blind eye to anti-women hatred and refusing to take violence against women and girls seriously.

Liberal Democrats have accused the Government of ‘turning a blind-eye’ to violence against women and girls, choosing to bury their head in the sand.

Wera said:

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25 November 2021 – today’s press releases

It looks as though we’ve had another surge of press releases so we thought that we might share them with you…

  • Channel crossings: Govt must rule out dangerous ‘pushback’ tactics
  • GP Shortages: Only 4-in-10 able to get same-day appointment
  • Nick Fletcher’s Dr Who comments straight out of the 1950s

Channel crossings: Govt must rule out dangerous ‘pushback’ tactics

Responding to Immigration Minister Kevin Foster’s refusal to rule out using ‘pushback’ tactics to turn back small boats in the Channel, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

It is disgraceful that the government is even considering pushing boats back in the Channel after yesterday’s tragic

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How do you solve a problem like Dominic Raab?

This morning Dominic Raab, the Justice Secretary, exposed his own ignorance on live television:

Lib Dem Women and Equalities spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said:

“It’s little wonder the Conservatives are failing to tackle misogyny when their Justice Secretary doesn’t even seem to know what it is.”

“These comments are an insult to the millions of women and girls impacted by misogyny and show just how out of touch the Conservatives are on this issue.

“Women and girls deserve better than these callous remarks. The Government must make misogyny a hate crime so that police forces take these crimes more seriously and support women and girls who are being so desperately let down.”

This is, of course, the very same Dominic Raab who, when Brexit Secretary, said the following:

“We are, and I hadn’t quite understood the full extent of this, but if you look at the UK and if you look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing.

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Jo Swinson on The President’s Club: Time’s up on this crap

Jo Swinson’s words were reassuringly unminced this morning when she condemned the appalling behaviour which took place at the President’s Club Dinner. She praised Madison Marriage, the FT reporter who wrote about it.

All of the women were told to wear skimpy black outfits with matching underwear and high heels. At an after-party many hostesses — some of them students earning extra cash — were groped, sexually harassed and propositioned.

There is something deeply distasteful about some of the richest and most powerful men in the country behaving in that way to young women on a tiny fraction of their incomes.

Jo wasn’t just going to leave it there with a few outraged tweets, though. She thought about how to hold these people to account.

She prepared, and persuaded 40 MPs to sign, letters of complaint to the Charity Commission.

The letter calls on the Charity Commission to urgently investigate the President’s Club “because of the “serious and potentially criminal nature of the behaviour.” and asks that the organisation investigates “whether the Trustees are fit to hold such office, given their apparent failure to properly discharge their duties to protect health and safety of workers, and the reputation of the charity.”

In the letter to the President’s Club Jo states that: “There can be no place in 2018 for respectable fundraising events which objectify women and subject them to groping and harassment.”

She warns that the Trustees have failed in their duty. “Indeed not only do the reported events of last week impact on the reputation of the Presidents Club Charitable Trust, they also put at risk the reputations of charities that were being supported by the event.

“No doubt these charity partners, sponsors and donors to the Presidents Club Charitable Trust will be reassessing their involvement with your charity following these revelations.”

And then she wrote another letter to the Trustees of the Presidents’ Club which was very well-resaarched and worth  publishing in full in case anyone else needs any of the references in it to tackle another injustice.

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#NotACompliment, Misogyny and Hate Crimes

Did you know misogyny is not a hate crime? Hate crimes include racial and religious slurs, but not gendered.

The Crown Prosecution service defines hate incident as:

Any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.

With #metoo and the more open discussion about omnipresent harassment, such that most of us are guilty of ignoring ‘minor’ incidences rather than acting on them, there is now growing pressure to make misogyny a hate crime.

This is not a new idea. Last year, there was …

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Chickens, eggs, Twitter and report abuse buttons

In the last 24 hours, over 40,000 people have signed an e-petition calling on Twitter to install a “report abuse button.” This was started after journalist Caroline Crialdo-Perez suffered numerous tweeted threats of rape and sexual assault in the wake of her successful campaign to have Jane Austen put on a bank note. Shewrote for the Independent about her experience both of the abuse and the support she’d received in return. Ishould warn you that if you click on the link you will see some examples of the tweets she was sent:

These are all tweets from men. Men who

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