What we’re reading:

16 Ways To End Violence Against Women And Girls by @EVB_Now  via @HuffPostUK

Since I gave you a phone it’s not rape by GUILAINE KINOUANI at openDemocracy

Dutch race hate row engulfs presenter Sylvana Simons — BBC News

Transforming a victim blaming culture | openDemocracy

White Skin, Black Masks: On the “Decolonial Desire” of Vasco Araújo by Efua Bea via

The Scottish Write to End Violence Against Women and Girls Award!

The Write to End Violence Against Women Awards Nominations close on Sept. 30!

Violence against women is often in the news. Its prevalence in society makes it a ‘hot topic’ for reporters and its complex nature makes it an interesting issue for feature writers. However, the fact that violence against women is so complex can mean that even journalists with the best of intentions can misrepresent some of the issues and perpetuate myths that are harmful to women.

On the other hand, good reporting can play a vital role in increasing understanding of violence against women and challenging its place in our society. And many journalists and bloggers produce high quality work which confronts violence and gender inequality.

We believe that their hard work deserves to be recognised, which is why Zero Tolerance with the support of NUJ ScotlandWhite Ribbon ScotlandScottish Women’s AidEngenderEveryday Victim Blaming, Women 50:50Rape Crisis ScotlandWomen for Independence and the Scottish Refugee Council are pleased to present the fourth annual Write to End Violence award for excellence in journalism. We are also pleased to announce the Sunday Herald will be working with us as our media partner.

This award seeks to drive up standards in journalism by rewarding those committed to furthering the cause of gender equality through their work.  It is open to all those writing in Scotland, and there are categories open to both paid and unpaid writing. Articles and blogs must be published between 01/09/15 and 01/09/16.
Read more The Scottish Write to End Violence Against Women and Girls Award!

Femicide – Men’s Fatal Violence Against Women Goes Beyond Domestic Violence by @K_IngalaSmith

Cross-posted from: Karen Ingala Smith
Originally published: 18.05.15

I wrote this piece for Women’s Aid’s magazine Safe:

The Office for National Statistics released findings from the 2013/14 Crime Survey for England and Wales on 12 February. Men continue to be more likely to be killed than women, there were 343 male victims compared to 183 female victims (of all ages including children and babies). Court proceedings had concluded for 355 (55%) of 649 suspects relating to 536 homicides.  For those suspects where proceedings had concluded, 90% (338 suspects) were male and 10% were female (38 suspects). Men are more likely to be killed, but their killers are overwhelmingly men. Women are less likely to be killed, when they are, they are overwhelmingly killed by a man.  When we’re talking about fatal violence, we are almost always talking about men’s violence.
Read more Femicide – Men’s Fatal Violence Against Women Goes Beyond Domestic Violence by @K_IngalaSmith

Reports on ‘Leaked Nude Photos‘ — Just Another Form of Victim-Blaming by @CratesNRibbons

Cross-posted from: Crates N Ribbons
Originally published: 01.09.14

As most of you will have heard by now, an anonymous hacker has stolen the private images of a large number of female celebrities, and posted them on 4chan, an imageboard website notorious for being a cesspit of misogyny.

Here are a selection of headlines I’ve seen today:

The Great Naked Celebrity Photo Leak of 2014 is Just the Beginning –  Guardian

Jennifer Lawrence Nude Photos Leaked ‘After iCloud Hack’ – BBC

Leaked Nude Celeb Photos Spark Hacking Fears – Sky News

Jennifer Lawrence’s Nude Photos Leak Online, Other Celebs Targeted – Huffington Post

Leaked: Photos of Naked Celebrities, Including Jennifer Lawrence – The Sydney Morning Herald

Nude Photos of Many A-List Celebrities Leaked Online After Apparent Hacking – CTV News

*****

Leaked. Over and over, the same phrase is being employed. The photographs were leaked.

What a strange word to use. A leak is what happens when I fail to turn my tap all the way off. If my water bottle is not properly sealed, it leaks. If I had a baby, and then forgot to change its diaper often enough, that would leak too.

But is that what has happened here? Did the photos of these women suddenly find themselves on the internet in an unfortunate accident, brought about through the laws of physics and a defective containment system? Or was there something else at work here?
Read more Reports on ‘Leaked Nude Photos‘ — Just Another Form of Victim-Blaming by @CratesNRibbons

This is male entitlement: why domestic & sexual violence are gendered issues (content note for extreme violence) BY @EVB_Now

Cross-posted from: Everyday Victim Blaming
Originally published: 30.09.15

Every time we tweet about male entitlement and male violence, we hear two things a) not all men and b) women are violent too. We need to be clear here: the vast majority of violence is committed by men. Street violence is usually committed by men against other men. Domestic and sexual violence and abuse are overwhelmingly perpetrated by men against women and children. Male victims of domestic and sexual violence and abuse are mostly likely to be abused by male partners. This is the reality of gendered violence in the UK.

Not all men may perpetrate domestic and sexual violence and abuse, but all men profit from a system where women are routinely shamed and punished for acting outside of prescribed gender roles. This is why housework and caring for children or family members with disabilities is overwhelmingly done by women and why men consistently over-estimate the amount of caring they do. Without women’s unpaid labour, our economy would collapse. Despite this, women are more likely to live in poverty than men and children who live in poverty tend to live in a single parent household with their father with a father who pays little or no maintenance.
Read more This is male entitlement: why domestic & sexual violence are gendered issues (content note for extreme violence) BY @EVB_Now

Is this what you think victims of domestic violence look like? by @monk_laura

Cross-posted from: Mothers Apart Project
Originally published: 01.02.15

In the Mothers Apart Project one of the themes emerging from talking to both mothers apart and professionals is the problem of stereotyping, and judging people by those stereotypes according to myths about ‘bad mothers’. Another theme is that professionals who are not in the field of domestic violence avoid asking questions about violence and abuse in order to have to deal with it – and this is for a variety of reasons. Professionals are telling me that this is what they observe on a regular basis in other professionals who avoid at all costs opening ‘Pandora’s Box’ that is domestic violence (you have to bear in mind that the professionals I am interviewing are going to be sympathetic to survivors/mothers apart as they have granted me an interview to support the Mothers Apart Project).

 


Read more Is this what you think victims of domestic violence look like? by @monk_laura

Loving to Survive by @smashesthep

Cross-posted from: Smashes the P
Originally published: 14.09.11

**Thanks go to hecuba and KatieS for inspiring me to read and think about these issues.***

I was too old to play with barbies, but we hadn’t yet sold the white plastic bin they were housed in. They lay stacked lengthwise on top of each other like disheveled Lincoln logs. Plastic barbie hair poked through the thatched bin.

I was ashamed. At eleven, I knew that I was too old to play with barbies. Still, I snuck into the spare room one day and closed the door. The room had an old broken player piano in it that was missing the roll.
Read more Loving to Survive by @smashesthep

‘Go die in a fire” is not just an idle threat – as I know only too well by @sianushka

Cross-posted from: Sian and Crooked Rib
Originally published: 17.06.14
This blog is about two things. First, it’s about my experience of an incident of male violence, the difficulty I had in recognising it as male violence, and what their act of violence meant. Second, it will discuss a recent spate of nasty online behaviour directed at women, and why this behaviour needs to stop.
So. Twelve years ago, two boys a year younger than me set me on fire. They stuck a lit lighter in my hair, and my dry hair, as dry hair is wont to do when matched with flames, caught alight and burned bright for a moment or two before my friend extinguished it by repeatedly hitting me on the head. The boys smirked, and exited scene left. Like all good teenagers, I tried to laugh it off. It was only later when I got home that I cried. Alone, in the garden.
I didn’t report it. I didn’t report if for all the reasons women and girls don’t report male violence. I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to ‘make a big thing of it’. My mum, when I said I wouldn’t report it, told me to go to the deputy head of my school. After the deputy head ‘resolved’ the issue by asking the boys to write me a badly-spelled lie of an apology note (“dear sharn, Im sorry I set your hair on fire, it was an accident and wont happen again” – those words are engraved in my brain with an angry, angry pen) I wished fervently I had gone to the police. I wished I had shown them I wasn’t afraid. I wished I could watch them get what they deserved. I wished they had got to feel ashamed and embarrassed and humiliated – got to feel like I did. But I didn’t report.
That was the end of that. I turned it into a funny story, like we often do with things that are horrible that happen to us. You smile a little more stiffly at each retelling. And you don’t think about what it meant. You don’t think about what it meant to have someone decide to attack you by setting your hair on fire.
It took me a long time to realise this was an act of male violence. I know that sounds silly – it’s so obvious isn’t it? Two men attacked me by setting my hair on fire, and I didn’t see that as male violence. I now realise that one of the barriers I faced to naming what happened to me was that I didn’t report. Not reporting meant I never recognised what had happened, or why it ‘counted’ as violence. I’ve written about this in terms of naming experiences of sexual assault and how long it took me to realise that what happened to me was assault.
These two boys set my hair on fire as an act of intimidation against my brother. They knew that attacking me was a way of attacking him. They treated my body as a cipher – my body was a proxy – to send him a message. It’s all tied up in the idea of women’s bodies as property of male relatives, and of course it’s all sub-consciously tied up in ideas of the importance of women’s hair. Understanding this, seeing the historical, social and cultural patterns, all of this helped me recognise this was an act of male violence against me, a girl at the time. It helped me name what happened to me. It helped me to understand that what happened to me was deliberately meant as violence, and that it was cruel, and that it was vicious. It helped me understand why I felt scared, and upset, and hurt. It helped me understand why I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and humiliated. And it helped me understand why I felt so angry when nothing happened to show them what they had done to me.
Twelve years ago, two boys a year younger than me set me on fire.
Last week, I saw a return of the online ‘trend’ of attacking women who some people don’t like online by saying they hope they ‘burn in a fire’. These people tweet that they want women to ‘burn’. One tweeted that once one woman had ‘her hair set on fire’ she would ‘eat her words’.
As someone who has survived being set on fire by violent men, I not only find these words repulsive, I find them actively frightening.
How dare anyone write that they want to silence women by setting them on fire? How dare they use that language and those threats to intimidate and frighten women into silence? How dare anyone go online and threaten a woman with violence? It’s disgusting. And knowing what we know about male violence against women, and how common it is, and how likely it is that the woman being attacked will have experienced at least one incident of male violence, it’s purely wicked.
Throughout history, millions of women have died by being set on fire. Outspoken women were burned at the stake. Powerful women and women who refused to conform were burnt as witches. Widows were thrown on the funeral pyres of their dead husbands. Victims of domestic abuse are still burnt to death in their homes by violent partners.
When you pose online with matches and a grin, when you tell women you hope they die in a fire because you think they are ‘scum’, you are aligning yourself with the thousands of men throughout history who have murdered women by pushing them into the flames. You are no better than those men.
Telling women to die in a fire is no idle threat. It is the reality of millions of women throughout history. It is the reality of women alive today. It is my reality, as a survivor of having men set my hair on fire. It is not ok to despise women’s real life experience of male violence. It is not ok to use women’s experience of male violence in your desperate efforts to make women shut up.
If you read this, and you are one of those people who has told women to die in a fire, who has threatened to silence women by setting them on fire, then for fuck’s sake, think about what you are saying and who you are saying it to. Because the woman you are threatening might know all too well what it means to be set on fire. I do, after all.
Update

Karen Ingala Smith has written a blog in response to this, detailing the number of women who have been murdered in the UK since the start of 2012. I urge you to read it and remember the names of these women.
Sian and Crooked Rib I‘m a Bristol based blogger who writes stories, talks about feminism and politics and generally muses on happenings.  Twitter @sianushka

I know how I feel about catcalls, thanks: a response to Paris Lees by @marstrina

Cross-posted from: It's not a zero sum game
Originally published: 06.03.14

Dear Paris,

Let me tell you a little bit about what street harassment – or “catcalling” as you term it – has meant in my life. Perhaps it will help you understand why some women have found your VICE piece so disquieting, and if it doesn’t, well, all I’ve done is laid bare my vulnerable past and upset my mother, so NBD (sorry mom).

When I was about 11, a boy in my neighbourhood was in love with me and wanted to “go steady”. He was a very attractive boy and I was very flattered, until one afternoon he insisted on exposing himself to me. He just wanted me to “look at it”. I said no – I was scared and embarrassed and I didn’t want to look. I ran away. This boy and his best friend then turned sharply from admirers to haters: they started yelling abuse at me if they saw me on the street, sometimes chucking stones, and once they actually grabbed me, but that’s a story about sexual assault and not catcalls so never mind it for the moment 
Read more I know how I feel about catcalls, thanks: a response to Paris Lees by @marstrina

The Reality Behind Bill Cosby’s Allegations by @rupandemehta

Cross-posted from: Liberating Realisations
Originally published: 21.07.15

So the truth finally comes out. In a 2005 deposition, Bill Cosby admittedto giving Quaaludes to young women with whom he wanted to have sex. Quaaludes was a massively popular sleep aid, sedative formally known as methaqualone. It was started off to be used as an antimalarial but was soon discovered to have sedative-hypnotic effects.

Despite this newly uncovered information, Whoopi Goldberg on the talk show, The View continued to defend Cosby, proclaiming, “I say this because this is my opinion, and in America still, I know it’s a shock, but you actually were innocent until proven guilty. He has not been proven a rapist.”

So far, 40 women have come forward and accused the comedian of drugging and subsequently raping them and Whoopi thinks he has to be proven a rapist? Does she know a thing called ‘statute of limitations’? In most of these cases, the statute has expired and the accusations cannot be used to indict Cosby…but a far bigger question is why do we need a rapist to be proven guilty by law before admitting he did something wrong? 
Read more The Reality Behind Bill Cosby’s Allegations by @rupandemehta

The silence that underpins sexual abuse

Cross-posted from: Herbs and Hags
Originally published: 12.10.12

That bell-weather of misogynist reaction, Brendan O’Neill, can always be relied upon to clearly articulate the woman-hating point of view on any current issue, so he is useful for something. Most woman-hating is slightly disguised and woolly and difficult to spot unless you’re concentrating hard and/ or have managed to clear yourself of many (I won’t say all) of the misogynist assumptions our culture imbued you with from the day you were born; but O’Neill’s pronouncements cut through the obfuscation and help anyone not there yet, to identify clearly the techniques men have used throughout history, to maintain their control over women. Here’s his article on the Jimmy Savile row, just for those who haven’t yet seen it.  This should come with a bit of a trigger/ apoplexy warning, so I won’t say happy reading. 
Read more The silence that underpins sexual abuse

Lets talk about rape (again) and being one of ‘only 9%’.

Cross-posted from: Helen Blogs
Originally published: 14.03.14

Last year when I blogged/wrote as ‘fragmentz’ I wrote several blogs titled ‘lets talk about rape …’ – not something I planned on writing much about again really, but here I am and I am able to talk more openly offline and more confident to write online as me, Helen.

7 years ago my life which I was already battling changed for the worse. It was a sunny day, where one moment made time freeze. One afternoon on the corner of a street where a building site was boarded up (with broken down boards). One second I was walking down a street I’d walked down many times and a few minutes later I ran into the high street, collapsing while some passers by called the emergency services. You always think – well I did – that you know what you would do in that situation. But I didn’t do what I thought I would. And that was it, in those brief moments life changed. Forever. Never ever to be the same again. How can it be?
Read more Lets talk about rape (again) and being one of ‘only 9%’.

#16Days: Why Supporting Women In Leaving #DomesticAbuse Is Vital by @FrothyDragon

Cross-posted from: Frothy Dragon & the Patriarchal Stone
Originally published: 06.12.12

I noticed an irony the other day. I don’t remember the exact date I returned to D, following his court case. But, given that it was a matter of days before my birthday (very early December), it would have been during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. The irony of this only struck me recently; As my family were convincing me to give my relationship with D another go – to put things right-, feminists would have been campaigning to help raise awareness of domestic abuse.

My family, when I phoned to tell them that D had headbutted me whilst I was holding our ten month old son, were a little less sympathetic than they should have been. A few weeks after the attack, I found myself being subjected to an hour long lecture from my mother, about how I’d “isolated” D, by choosing to breastfeed and co-sleep. I’d denied him intimacy. D’s right to sex was, in my parent’s eyes, more important than parenting in a way which worked for myself and my son. I was told that, by pressing charges I was over-reacting. At this point, I’d yet to tell anyone of the extent of abuse D had put me through.
Read more #16Days: Why Supporting Women In Leaving #DomesticAbuse Is Vital by @FrothyDragon

You know what I’d love to see instead of the #TamponTax

Cross-posted from: Kim Graham

You know what I’d love to see? Rather than the tampon tax being used to fund women’s services (eg, refuges, etc): Be warned, this may be a long list.

1. The abolition of men’s violence against women. You know, a day when the work of amazing feminists such as Karen Ingala Smith (Counting Dead Women – recording the deaths of women killed by men) , Louise Sgm PenningtonJo Costello and the rest of the wonderful team behind Ending Victimisation and Blame: Everyday Victim Blaming, and Sarah Jane Learmonth of CRASAC (to name just a few) is no longer needed. As it stands, we have so many women dedicated to the cause. So many women who campaign and lobby relentlessly to bring about changes. So many women who carry out work that SHOULDN’T be needed. Yet, in 2015, it’s not only needed, but under threat. Not even a month ago, we lost one charity that was dedicated to the abolition of violence against women, EAVES. We’ll lose more. It’s the harsh reality of what the past five and a half years of Tory rule has brought us. 
Read more You know what I’d love to see instead of the #TamponTax

Why talking about male violence matters by @SarahDitum

(Cross-posted from Sarah Ditum’s Paperhous)

November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is also the international day of tediously explaining why violence against women needs to be discussed as a category. November 25 is the day when you will be reminded that two thirds of homicide victims in England and Wales are male, and that (according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales) men are twice as likely as women to have been victims of violence. November 25 is the day of being reminded that women commit violence too. Last year, I was at an End Violence Against Women event in Bristol where a man had bought a ticket solely so he could stand up in the middle of the discussion and shout, “What about Joanna Dennehy?” (Dennehy became the first woman subject to a whole life tariff in February this year, when she was convicted of the murders of three men). What about Joanna Dennehy, then? After all, it’s true that women are also implicated in violence:

Yes, women are violent too. But the traffic of violence is overwhelmingly from men, and disproportionately to women. As a class, men are the bearers of violence. As a class, women are its victims. And this is why feminists talk about male violence: not for lack of concern about the violence perpetrated by women, but because as a demographic phenomenon, violence is masculine. For this reason, we can draw connections between the patterns of violence and other areas of male domination. What about the fact that women are more likely to live in poverty than men? The fact that the UK has a pay gap of 19.7% in favour of men? The fact that women make up just 23% of MPs? What about the fact that purchasers of sex are exclusively men – is that relevant here? All of these inequalities exist in an environment shaped by that traffic of violence: from men, to women. All of them must be addressed in the acknowledgement of that context, if they are to be addressed at all.
Read more Why talking about male violence matters by @SarahDitum