Karen Ingala Smith won a National Diversity Award

Karen Ingala Smith won the Positive Role Model Award for Gender Nominees in the National Diversity Awards for her work on the Counting Dead Women project. Ingala Smith absolutely deserved to win this award for the work she does remembering women. Her commitment to women is inspiring and the work Ingala Smith does is so very essential,  Ingala Smith runs the Counting Dead Women campaign in top of a full time job as a CEO of Nia – a London based organisation which supports women.

Finding the names of women killed through male violence isn’t a simple process of just googling. The deaths of many of these women were not recorded by the mainstream media because violence against women and girls is too common to interest them. When the media covers the murder of women and girls, it is full of victim blaming, salacious comments about the victim’s sexual history and life, and erases the perpetrator’s responsibility for the crime. To record the names of the women killed by men in the UK, Ingala Smith has to trawl through hours of shoddy journalism and male violence apologism.  For many of these women, the only publicly accessible records of their murder is through Counting Dead Women.

Counting Dead Women is one of the most essential and powerful pieces of feminist activism in the UK. Granted, I’m slightly biased in this judgement because Ingala Smith is a dear friend that I treasure. Bias aside, Counting Dead Women is a campaign which deserves the accolades it has received. Ingala Smith deserves the National Diversity Award and our collective respect for this campaign.

 

 

Counting Dead Women Petition: Demanding a Fit For Purpose Record of Fatal Male Violence Against Women and Girls

These are the women killed through male violence in 2014:

100 women in 238 days is one woman every 2.38 days.

8 Jan 2014: Elsie Mowbray, 87, died in hospital following a burglary at her home on New Year’s Day. Peter Harries, 33, has been charged.

  1. 8 Jan 2014: Sameena Zaman, 34, was found dead. Mohammed Zaman, 44 has been charged.
  2. 8 Jan 2014: Sarah O’Neill, 22, died from head injuries. Sergio Saavedra-Navarrete, said to be her boyfriend, 27, has been charged with her murder.
  3. 14 Jan 2014: Jacqueline Oakes,51, died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries. Marcus Musgrove, 39, has been charged with murder.
  4. 16 Jan 2014: Caroline Finnegan, 30 died from head injuries. Her fiancé Ryan Ingham, 26, has been charged with her murder.
  5. 24 Jan 2014: Elizabeth Thomas was stabbed to death. A 16-yr-old male who can’t be named for legal reasons has been charged with her murder
  6. 28 Jan 2014: Milena Yuliyanov, 27, was stabbed. Her husband Jamshaid Khan, 28 has been charged with her murder.
  7. 30 Jan 2014: Karen Wild, was found dead through stabbing.  A 22-year-old man, said to be her son, Lian Wild, has been charged with her murder.
  8. 31 Jan 2014: Maria Duque-Tunjano, 48, was found dead. She had been killed some days earlier by blunt trauma to the head. Robert Fraser, 39 has been charged
  9. 11 Feb 2014: Clara Patterson, 82, and her son Ray, 61, were found dead. Their grandson/son Glen Patterson, 25 has been charged with their murders.
  10. 12 Feb 2014: A woman who cannot be named for legal reasons was found dead in London.  A 15 year old boy, thought to be her son, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
  11. 17 Feb 2014: Karolina Nowikiewicz, 25, was found dead as a result of a neck injury. Michael Wenham, 35, has been charged with murder.
  12. 18 Feb 2014: Hollie Gazzard, 20, was stabbed to death. Her ex-boyfriend Asher Maslin has been charged with her murder.
  13. 20 Feb 2014: Leanne Meecham, 26, died of a brain injury a week after being stabbed. Her ex-partner Simon Meecham has been charged with her murder.
  14. 23 Feb 2014: Christine Lee, 66, was shot dead.  Her ex-partner Michael Lowe,  has been charged with her murder and that of her daughter.
  15. 23 Feb 2104: Lucy Lee, 40, was shot dead along with her mother.  Her mother’s ex-partner has been charged with her murder.
  16. 23 Feb 2014: Donna Graham, 51, and husband Keith Graham were found dead in a suspected murder-suicide.
  17. 23 Feb 2014: Georgina Drinkwater, 30, died from head injuries after falling from a block of flats. A man was arrested and has been bailed.
  18. 23 Feb 2014: Tracey Snook-Kite, 53, was found dead. She had died of head injuries. Anthony Stanger, 48, was arrested and charged with murder.
  19. 24 Feb 2014: Mairead McCallion, 24, died after sustaining head injuries the day before. Her partner Noel Knox has been charged with her murder.
  20. 26 Feb 2014: Sheila Wild, 49, was found dead.  Her husband Raymond Wild has been charged with her murder.
  21. 26 Feb 2014: Angela Humphrey, 48, was found dead.  Police said she suffered a violent death. Alan Humphrey has been charged with her murder.
  22. 3 Mar 2014: Patricia Anne Durrant, 65, was found dead at home. James Blair Hamilton who also lived there has been charged with her murder.
  23. 4 Mar 2014: Sara Al Shourefi, 28, was found dead. Thahi Harroba Manaa has been charged with her murder.
  24. 6 March: Becky Ayres, 24 was killed by multiple stab wounds. Her boyfriend Liam King has been charged with her murder.
  25. 6 Mar 2014: Amandeep Kaur Hothi, 29, was stabbed to death. Gurminder Singh has been charged with her murder.
  26. 16 March 2014: Kirsty Wright, 21, was stabbed to death. Akeel Hussain has been charged with her murder.
  27. 16 March 2014: Rivka Holden, 55, so badly mutilated that the cause of her death could not be definitively ascertained. She had also ben sexually assaulted. Nicolae Patraucean, 20, has admitted murdering her.
  28. 17 March 2014: Cherylee Shennan, 40, was stabbed to death.  Her boyfriend Paul O’Hara has been charged with her murder.
  29. 19 March 2014: Naudel Turner, 42, was stabbed to death. Dariusz Miakienko, 46, has been charged with her murder.
  30. 21 March 2014: Shereka Marsh, 15, was shot.  A 15 year old boy has been charged with her murder.
  31. 22 March 2014: Hazel North,19, was found dead after having been missing for several weeks. She died of severe blunt force trauma to head, neck and body.  Her injuries included multiple fractures to the jaw and eye socket, massive bruising, and 14 fractures to her ribs. Pathologists estimated that it would have taken her 16-18 hours to die. Her boyfriend John Davis was found guilty of her murder.
  32. 23 March 2014: Tracy Walters, 48, died in hospital two days after a crash on the M1 near Leicester. Her husband Ian Walters, has been charged with murder through crashing deliberately.
  33. 28 March 2014, Shirley Mercer, 43, was stabbed to death.  Brian Hull has been charged with her murder.
  34. 29 March 2014: Kanwal Azam, 35, was stabbed.  Her estranged husband Suhail Azam has been charged with her murder.
  35. 30 March 2014: Mashael Albasman, 25, was found dead.  A 58-year-old man, believed to be her father, has been arrested.
  36. 31 March 2014: Val Forde, 45, and her 23-month old daughter Jazra were found dead. Her partner Roland McKoy has been arrested.
  37. 2 April 2014: Doreen Walker, 75, was found dead at home with multiple injuries. Liam Naylor, 23 has been charged with her murder.
  38. 5 April 2014: Senga Closs, 47, was found dead at home. Steven McCall, 43, has been charged with her murder.
  39. 5 April 2014: Kayleigh-Anne Palmer, 16, died in hospital after being strangled. Her boyfriend, Aston Robinson, who had faced a prior charge for her attempted murder, has been charged. Police are considering whether Robinson should face charges in relation to her unborn child.
  40. 5 April 2014: Sandra Boakes, 70, was found with head injuries and died two days later in hospital. Her husband Dudley Boakes, initially charged with attempted murder, was charged with her murder.
  41. 6 April 2014: Yvette Hallsworth, 36, was found dead.  She had been stabbed.  Mateusz Kosecki,18, has been charged with her murder.
  42. 9 April 2014: Isabelle Sanders, 51, was stabbed to death.  Paul McManus has been charged with her murder and attempted murder of her partner.
  43. 11 April 2014: Judith Nibbs, 60, was decapitated.  Her estranged husband, Dempsey Nibbs has been charged with her murder.
  44. 14 April 2014: Pauline Butler, 61, was stabbed.  Her husband, John Butler, has been charged with her murder.
  45. 15 April 2014: Angela Smeaton, 50, was found with serious injuries when the police were called and died on the scene through a fatal stab in her arm.  Her partner, Paul Smart has been charged with her murder.
  46. 18 April 2014: Doreen Webb, 64, was stabbed.  Her husband Leonard Webb, 68 was charged with her murder.
  47. 18 April 2014: Elaine Duncan, 46, was found dead.  James Morley, has been charged with her murder.
  48. 21 April 2014: Malgorzata Dantes, 54, and her husband Leszek were stabbed to death. Their son Kamil Dantes has been charged with their murders.
  49. 28 April 2014: Ann Maguire, 61, was killed through multiple stab wounds.  A 15-year old boy has been charged with her murder.
  50. 29 April 2014: Carol Dyson, 53, was asphyxiated.  Her husband Mark Dyson has been charged with her murder.
  51. 29 April 2014: Susan Ashworth, 47, was found dead after a fire in her home which is believed to have been started deliberately by her husband Martin Ashworth, who was also killed.
  52. 3 May 2014: Natsnet Tekle Nahisi, 20, died from injuries sustained in an assault.  Dawit Khasay, 19, was charged but later died in prison.
  53. 3 May 2014: Angela Ward, 27, died in hospital after having been found injured. Ian Meakin, 49, has been charged with her murder.
  54. 5 May 2014: Jessica Watkins, 21, died through blood loss from wounds or pressure to the neck. Kristofer Mitchell, 28 has been charged with her murder.
  55. 9 May 2014: Tamara Holboll, 67, was found dead  with multiple stab wounds following a fire at her home.  Her son, Peter Holboll, 44, has been charged with her murder.
  56. 10 May 2014: Hayley Stringer, 29, was stabbed to death by her ex-husband David Stringer, who then killed himself.
  57. 18 May 2014: Emma Mansell, 37, was stabbed to death.  Her boyfriend Jonny Sutton, 39, has been charged with her murder and injuries to 4 children.
  58. 19 May 2014: The body of Eileen Glassford, 60, was recovered from a river.  Paul Connolly,49, has been charged with murder.
  59. 24 May 2014: Wendy Ambrose, 77, was shot dead by her husband Harold Ambrose,82, who then shot himself.
  60. 26 May 2014: Mary Craig, 43, died after being struck with a knife or similar. Her partner, Christopher Stone, has been charged with her murder.
  61. 26 May 2014: Dorothy Beattie, 51 was found dead.  Christopher Kelly, 40,  has been charged with her murder.
  62. 27 May 2014: Tahira Ahmed, 38, was found dead at home.  Her husband Naveed Ahmed, 41, has been charged with her murder.
  63. 30 May 2014: Helen Dillon, 42, was stabbed to death in Neasdon, London.  Justice Cruickshank, 54 has been charged with her murder.
  64. 31 May 2014: The body of Rui Li, 44,was found in the boot of a car, Her husband, Pierre Legris, 60, has been charged with her murder.  She died of blunt force trauma to the head.
  65. 3 June 2014: Yvonne Fox, 87, was killed by blunt force trauma to the head. Her son, Paul Fox, has been charged with her murder.
  66. 4 June 2014: Margaret Evans, 69, was beaten to death. Her son, Alun Evan, 32, has been detained under the mental health act.
  67. 8 June 2014: Rebecca Bamber, 42, died after being taken to hospital with serious injuries after being assaulted. David Hoyle, 38, has been charged with her murder.
  68. 10 June 2014: Madina Landsberg, 31, was found dead. She had been beaten and strangled. Her ex-husband Dexter Landsberg has been charged with her murder.
  69. 11 June 2014: Francine Clark, 70, was found dead.  Her husband, 86-year-old Neil Clark has been charged with her murder.
  70. 13 June 2014: Belinda Dalby, 26, was found dead.  Jamie Nicolson, 30, has been charged with her murder.
  71. 14 June 2014: Jane Bartholomew, 39, was found dead at home after police responded to calls raising concerns for her welfare.  She had been killed by significant head injuries.  Scott Ellis, 42, was found with injuries to his wrists and subsequently charged with Jane’s murder.
  72. 15 June 2014: Denise Dunlop, 32, was stabbed to death.  Her partner Richard McAuley, 42, has been charged with her murder.
  73. 17 June 2014: Nahid Al Manea, 31, was stabbed 16 times and had injuries consistent with being struck in the face or head.  Her killer has not been found.
  74. 17 June 2014: Mingzi Yang, 29, was found dead at home.  33-year-old Wai Hong Tsang has been charged with her murder.
  75. 18 June 2014: Una Dorney, 87, was found dead in the care home in which she lived.  Her grandson, Ryan Guest, 33, has been charged with her murder.
  76. 25 June 2014: Sheila Crout, 65, was found dead.  Her husband John Crout, 63, has been charged with her murder.
  77. 29 June 2014: Luan Leigh, 42, was strangled to death.  Her daughter, 9, was treated for strangulation injuries and her son, 15, survived being stabbed in the chest.  Her husband, their father, Andrew Leigh, 42, was charged with murder and attempted murder.
  78. 29 June 2014: Cynthia Beamond, 80, was found dead with head injuries. Leo Barnes, 32, has been charged with her murder.
  79. 2 July 2014: Sally Campion, 45, was found with serious head injuries and later died in hospital. Matthew Keough, 44, has been charged with her murder.
  80. 7 July 2014: Quoi Chang, 50, and her husband Pin Chang, 58, were both stabbed to death in their home.  A 23-year-old man, said to be their son, has been sectioned under the mental health act.The police have said that they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the murders.
  81. 9 July 2014: Sharon Wall, 53, was stabbed at the mental health unit in which she worked. Ryan Mathews, 61, has been charged with her murder.
  82. 9 July 2014: Teresa Ryan, 50, was killed in a house fire just hours after celebrating her 50th birthday with her family.  David McCabe, 32, was remanded in custody to in court on July 28.
  83. 12 July 2014: Sharon Winters, 39, was stabbed to death through multiple upper body injuries. Kevin Hawkes, 33, has been charged with her murder.
  84. 13 July 2014: Helen Dawson, 48, and Ivor Spratek, 40, were found dead. Austin Brayford, 37, has been charged with their murders.
  85. 17 July 2014: Susan Lancaster, 67, was found dead at home after a call to the police from her husband Roy Lancaster, 54, saying that her had killed her.  He was later found dead.
  86. 17 July 2014: Michaela Heaton, 38, was found with head injuries. She was taken to hospital but pronounced dead shortly afterwards. Kevin Whyment, 53, has been charged with her murder.
  87. 18 July 2014: Bei Carter, 49,was stabbed and died from a single wound to the chest. John Heald, 53, is wanted by police in connection with her murder.
  88. 20 July 2014: Nonita Karajavait, 24, was seeing being pushed into on-coming traffic by her partner Tadas Zalwskas, 26.  The both died. Police are treating her death as suspicious.
  89. 22 July 2014: Tia Kounota was found in a burnt out car.  Damien Dionbewei, 34, has been charged with her murder.
  90. 29 July 2014: Eleanor Whitelaw, 85, died two weeks after being attacked in her home. Robert Buczek, 24, who had been charged with attempted murder and assault to severe injury and danger of life was charged with her murder.
  91. 2 August 2014: Carol Bland, 62, was found dead with multiple stab wounds by police after a friend had called them. Her 62 year old husband was found with serious knife wounds to his neck and was later arrested on suspicion of murder.
  92. 10 August 2014, Anayat Bibi, 39 was found dead with multiple stab wounds. A 42-year-old man of the same address, Mazhar Nawab, has been charged with her murder.
  93. 11 August 2014: Elizabeth Knott, 70, was shot dead by her husband John Knott, 71, who also shot himself.
  94. 17 August 2014: Sandra Talman, 62, was found dead. A post mortem discovered she had been killed through compression to the neck. Her husband, Nigel Talman, 60, has been charged with her murder.
  95. 19 August 2014: Elaine Flanagan, 57, was found dead. Her 57-year-old husband has been charged with her murder
  96. 21 August 2014: Shana Cover, 34, was found dead. Owen Williams, 50,  was arrested and released on bail.
  97. 23 August 2014: Rukshana Miah, 35, died in hospital six days after being attacked by her husband Abdul Miah, 36, He had initially been charged with attempted murder.
  98. Steven Dunks, 45, has been charged with murder after the body of a woman in her 40ies was discovered on 26th August 2014. It is believed she had been dead for several weeks. She has not yet been formally identified.
  99. 3 September 2014: Leighann Duffy, 26, dies in hospital 3 days after being stabbed in her home.  A man was seen leaving her flat before she came out bleeding heavily and asking for help.
  100. 3 September 2014: Pennie Davis, 47, was found dead by her husband in the field where she tended her horses.  She had been stabbed multiple times.
  101. 4 September 2014: Palmira Silva, 82, was found beheaded in a garden in north London.  A 25-year-old man has been arrested.

* Susan Ashworth who was found dead on 29 April was added on 9th September, Cynthia Beamond, 80 was found dead on 29 June and added on 14 Sept.

In addition, I am awaiting further information following the death of a woman in a fire in Kilwinning, Alison Taylor, Edna Fisher, Irene Ainsworth, Geraldine Sapara, Megan Hoskins, Charlene Lever, Sarah Munro and Nida Nazeer.

Please click here and sign my petition demanding that the government step up action to end fatal male violence against women. 

Note: the photos above are of the women killed this year.  Where I have not been able to find a photo, they have been represented by a silhouette. Black and minority ethnic women appear to be over represented in those for whom I have not been able to find a photo. 

 

Counting Dead Women Petition: Demanding a Fit For Purpose Record of Fatal Male Violence Against Women and Girls

This is why men can’t be feminists:

This is a comment left on  A Room of our Own: A Feminist/ Womanist Network in response to my paper for the Women’s Spaces and Feminist Politics; yesterday, today and tomorrow conference.

This is why men can’t be feminists: because they write patronising drivel:

Dear Author:

I was looking for an email address on your website to contact the owner of this site and the lady who made this speech. I am a 25 year old male, and a women’s studies grad at UcLa. I originally chose this major because it seemed like an easier gateway entering law school, but it actually ended up being one of the best decisions I have ever made. I totally respect and understand your desire to have a forum only for women, but what I found out through my 4 years of study was that men, especially young women, often feel disinterested in feminism and misogyny because they get this “we hate men” vibe. When I first started at ucla, a lot of young women raised an eyebrow at me in classes and didn’t know what my intentions were in terms of why I chose this major. But the truth is that there are a lot of men who are absolutely interested in healthy discussions about feminism and gender problems. I believe that it is absolutely essential for men to be involved in order to make positive changes. If only women talk about these problems and men are left out of the circle, it’s only repeating what has been going on for the last 3-4 decades. I hope that you offer men the opportunity to discuss these issues in a healthy and supportive environment, and I apologize for any abuse you have endured from men online. Thanks for your time and best of luck to you.

Yeah, that “we hate men” vibe is such a problem for feminists what with the whole insisting rapists be held criminally liable and fathers financially responsible for their children. Seriously, if this what 4 years of Women’s Studies taught this dude, we’re fucked.

Some brief thoughts on Emma Watson UN Speech on #HeForShe  

I was interviewed by BBC Radio Tees this morning on whether feminism is necessary following Emma Watson’s speech to the UN. I spoke with a male journalist (who clearly doesn’t like feminists) and Angela Epstein who has made a career out of belittling feminism. These are the notes I wrote just before the interview:

Reasons for Feminism:

General:

  1. 2 women a week are murdered by current or former partners – this does not include homicides perpetrated by extended family members including fathers and brothers.
  2. 40 women an hour are raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  3. Women and children are the vast majority of victims and refugees of war yet are very rarely represented at national and international peace agreements.
  4. 150 women a day are turned away from refuges in the UK due to lack of space.
  5. Women are more likely to suffer ill health and death due to male violence than they are to die from cancer, heart disease and car accidents.
  6. Women still earn less than men for the same work – this gap is wider for Women of Colour.
  7. Last year, a 13 year old girl was labelled “sexually predatory” in all her actions by the attorney responsible for prosecuting her perpetrator of sexual assault – an appalling breach of her human rights which only got national attention due to the work of Ending Victimisation and Blame
  8. 1400 girls were sexually abused, raped and trafficked in Rotherham whilst the police, social services, CPS, and schools did nothing. The media has reported this as if it was a one-off event rather than simply an exemplar of what is happening to girls across the UK every day in places like Nottingham, York and Sheffield
  9. Jimmy Savile was allowed to continue sexually assaulting and raping hundreds of young girls and boys whilst working for the BBC and engaged in “charity work”. He was given his own rooms in hospitals. Staff everywhere knew and no one stepped up to support the children.

More obviously, feminism is important because a young woman stood up in front of an international audience and said women are equal to men. For this, she has had threats of sexual violence through the theft and release of private images and all manner of abuse. This is why feminism is necessary – because women have no right to an opinion in the public sphere.

Reasons for feminism pertaining directly to Emma Watson:

  1. The threat to release of photos of Watson nude which have been stolen and then released publicly: this is sexual violence
  2. Count down clock to Watson being “legal”
  3. the fact that the Daily Mail published an article on her outfit rather than the speech

 

My issues with Watson’s speech:

  • no practical advise on how to change,
  • very little structural analysis: remains embedded in neoliberal discourse on choice
  • the word feminism is important. There is a reason why that word is derided and insulted – it’s because the word has power. It makes it clear why women are trapped in continuing cycles of poverty, male violence and child-bearing and rearing,
  • Watson calls for men’s inclusion but ignores why men do not want to support women’s rights as it challenges their power,
  • real male allies do not need to be coaxed into clicking a button on a website. They are already doing the work by reading and listening to feminists and then putting their knowledge into practise by supporting women’s liberation,
  • We need to stop stroking men’s egos and worrying about their feelings. We’ve had 10 000 years of human history where women have been raped, tortured and murdered. Men have the power to change this and have chosen not too. We need to stop focusing on being inclusive to men and start actively challenging them,
  • This statement is odd: “If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled”
    • Women aren’t compelled to be submissive, they have no choice. Men do have a choice to be controlling and they make the choice to engage in this behaviour within the home and within the public sphere. Men absolutely do suffer because of gendered stereotypes but we need to be clear that men who use violence are making a choice to do so – if we think otherwise, we insult all the men who make the choice to act like a decent human being.

I do have criticisms of Watson’s speech but more importantly, I am dancing with joy that she stood up in front of an international audience and said women are equal to men. As a mother of members of the Harry Potter generation, I am ecstatic by this speech. As a feminist, I am happy that Watson stood up and defended women. I do have concerns about her speech, particularly the idea that we don’t need the word feminism, but I am so fucking glad she made it.

Here’s a great post from Clementine Ford on Watson’s speech.

The New York Times thinks the People of Scotland are Stupid

After the response to my previous post on the Scottish Referendum, I swore I wasn’t going to speak publicly about it again. Being called a neo-Nazi for voting no somewhat pissed me off. Then, I found this piece of unmitigated, offensive drivel in my tabs and remembered that I was pissed off with the New York Times

They start with this:

Scotland has been England’s junior partner in the United Kingdom since 1707. But three centuries is no time at all in the view of many Scots, who regularly re-enact 14th century sword battles they had with the English and have insisted on self-determination, on and off, ever since. That prospect is now nearer than ever. Scottish voters will decide on Thursday whether to become independent once again.

Some of you, like say the New York Times, might be surprised to lean that re-enactment is a huge industry in the US. In fact, you can’t turn on an American detective show without at least one episode dedicated to some dude shooting some other dude with a converted civil war rifle. This is without getting into the issue of people prancing about in civil war uniforms pretending the civil war was all about battles without mentioning the teensy-tiny side issue of slavery. People dressed up in historical costumes, prancing about and arguing about the exact second at which a cannon was fired is hardly confined to the Scots. Googling American Civil War reenactment found a German group which enjoys it – although quite how one reenacts a war on a totally different continent is beyond me (or why anyone would get up in the middle of night to stand about in badly fitted clothing waiting for someone else to shoot a gun).

All of this is the type of ridiculous drivel one expects from a media which has skipped facts for salacious coverage and desperation. But then, they said this:

One might expect the referendum to be a question of national identity, of men in skirts and whiskey and “Braveheart” nostalgia, but hard economics have dominated the debate: What currency will Scotland use? How will revenue from North Sea oil reserves be divided (or will it)? Who will shoulder the burden of public debt?

Yep, that’s the New York Times expressing shock at the ability of Scottish people to like think and have opinions and stuff. They’ve pretty much stated that they assumed Scottish people were too dim to think about important stuff like the economy. Nope, we’re just a nation of men in skirts, drunk on Whiskey who get over-excited about historically inaccurate Mel Gibson films.

This is our mainstream “respected” media: expressing shock that people who live in other countries aren’t stupid.

Voting No : As the least bad options (plus, my list of demands)

I voted no to independence because it was the least bad option (and my friend voted yes because she thought it was the least bad option).

I voted no because Holyrood already has devolved power over education, healthcare, law, social work and housing and has had the ability to make a real difference in terms of poverty and the health and wellbeing of its citizens. It has never chosen to use any of those devolved powers to make a real difference for the lives of its citizens and I don’t believe independence would change that. Far too many children in Scotland live in poverty and the long-term health outcomes for our children is awful. Our children deserve better than this – they deserve better than either Holyrood or Westminster.

Our children deserve to be educated in buildings which are water-tight, properly insulated and with access to good quality resources like libraries, gyms, art rooms, music, specialist math and language teachers and proper, clean toilets. They deserve to be appropriately supported according to their individual needs. They deserve to have playgrounds big enough to run about it and local councils should be legally prohibited from selling off playgrounds to build housing.

All people, regardless if they own their homes, rent or live in social and council accommodation deserve the right to live in water-tight, fit-for-purpose housing which exceeds the minimum standards set out by the European Union (a standard which the vast majority of Edinburgh council properties have not met until recent legal requirements). Our children deserve to grow up in houses without mould, asbestos and inadequate sanitation.

I voted no because prisoners in Scotland had to go to the EU human rights court to have basic access to a toilet – losing immediate EU membership and the right to access that court is what turned my vote despite my belief in the right of self-determination.

I voted no because Edinburgh city council didn’t bother to invest money in housing until it was legally forced to do so by the EU.

I voted no because a child in Edinburgh was killed this year after an internal school wall fell  on her.

I voted no because Edinburgh city council knew in December 2013 that Duncan Place Resource Centre required an immediate intensive survey of its safety following a brief survey of all assets belonging to dept. of children and families and that this survey wasn’t undertaken until September and only then because the council happened to be surveying a different building. Duncan Place Resource Centre has now been closed and is awaiting a survey for asbestos before any repairs (or replacement) of facilities could happen. But, it was completely acceptable for children to be in a building with a potential asbestos problem.

I voted no because the Scottish Parliament was built using labour from illegal immigrants who were paid well-below the minimum wage and lived in substandard accommodation but no wants to talk about that.

I voted no because Alex Salmond had the power to over-turn the democratic process to sell land to Donald Trump to build a golf card that the actual residents voted against (again and again).

I voted no because we need membership of the EU to ensure that all our citizens are treated as humans.

I voted no because I don’t believe Holyrood is a better proposition than Westminster. They are equally bad options – and independence requires either a sound economic base or the desire to fundamentally reshape society. Neither side could promise either.

 

What I want to see immediately:

  • extending the right to vote to 16 & 17 year olds in all local elections
  • free fruit and milk to all primary aged children
  • extending free school meals to include children whose parents receive working tax credits
  • immediate ring-fenced investment in school assets, particularly buildings which are rated “c” or “d”
  • immediate ring-fenced investment in all community buildings
  • immediate ring-fenced investment in local parks
  • immediate investment in mental health services via the NHS and through departments of education, children and families and social services.
  • immediate investment in health and wellness clinics for women and babies
  • increased funding to dental health care
  • increased funding to the NHS – particularly in regards to mental health and life-limiting illnesses
  • investment in care homes for the elderly or people living with disabilities
  • better funding for programs in the violence against women and girls sector
  • more community, preemptive policing working with young people as opposed to criminalising them
  • a complete overhaul of the legal system as it pertains to domestic and sexual violence and abuse – including mandatory specialist training for all attorneys, judges, police, politicians, teachers and social workers.
  • a ban on the use of rape myths as a defence
  • a named support worker for all victims of violence going through the court process – especially in sexual violence and domestic abuse

And, this is just to start.

#DickheadDetox : The Entire Cast of the Expendables 3

I knew about Mel Gibson’s history of misogyny and racism. Hell, who hasn’t heard the video tape of Gibson shouting racist vitriol at a police officer several years ago.  I had absolutely no idea that most of the male main cast of the Expendables have histories of domestic violence.  – not until I read Kate Harding’s article in Dame Magazine:

The Expendables 3, featuring Mel Gibson, is currently in theaters. The successful movie franchise has also starred Mickey Rourke, who was charged with spousal abuse in 1994; Wesley Snipes, who allegedly beat one of his girlfriends until she was mostly deaf in one ear; Sylvester Stallone, whose late half-sister accused him of abuse; Stone Cold Steve Austin, accused more than once of assaulting an intimate partner; Eric Roberts, ditto; Jean-Claude Van Damme, whose third wife charged him with spousal abuse; and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who, as governor of California, repeatedly blocked spending on domestic-violence programs and shelters. Just in case you were tempted to think of Gibson as some kind of anomaly.

As Harding says, it doesn’t matter what they’ve done. We will ignore it and keep celebrating these “great” men.

Ray Rice, Domestic Violence and the Importance of Specialist Refuge Services

American footballer Ray Rice has been fired from the Baltimore Ravens following gossip-site TMZ’s release of the video of Rice punching his then partner (now wife) Janay Palmer unconscious and dragging her from the lift of a hotel by the hair. This “altercation”, as the media then labelled it, was covered by mainstream press with photographic stills from the CCTV in the hotel. Yet, in the 24 hours since TMZ has released the full footage of the assault, the media and a number of pundits have chosen to proclaim their total surprise at just how violent the assault committed by Rice was. And, people are watching the video as if its part of the WWE Saturday night showcase.

Let’s be very clear here: Rice was arrested directly after the incident. It was very clear in the media reports that Palmer was punched so hard as to render her unconscious and then she dragged from the lift by her hair. Almost every article was accompanied by a still taken from the video.The police investigating arrested both Rice and Palmer.

This is the reality of domestic violence: a victim is held as responsible as the perpetrator even when the victim is knocked unconscious.  People are blithely claiming shock and surprise about a violent altercation in which all the details were made public months ago. What is the difference between watching a video and reading the words “punched unconscious and dragged from a lift by her hair”. Do people genuinely not understand those words or the images that accompanied them that they needed the video to understand the full brutality of the attack?

The Baltimore Ravens certainly seem to claim so since they waited until today to fire Ray Rice. The police and prosecutor certainly didn’t, since Rice just ended up on some domestic violence awareness program. And, the NFL certainly are pretending ignorance since they only suspended Rice for two games. The fact that the NFL had to change their policy on players involved in domestic violence in August because of protests about Rice’s lenient sentence is evidence that claims of little to no knowledge are utter horseshit – although, it’s pretty telling that many of the complaints taken seriously were about players being given longer sentences for drug use than for violence. The NFL’s policy change isn’t so much about their stance on domestic violence than it is on their stance on illegal steroid use.

This is why our specialist refuge services are so very important and must be saved. When even the police arrest women for being a victim of domestic violence, we cannot depend on the system to protect women. We need these safe spaces so that women can live free from domestic violence within a supportive environment with qualified, professional staff who understand the coercive control which is the basis of domestic violence. Giving the contract to run refuges to non-specialised services like housing associations puts the lives of women and children at risk.

We need to do better to protect victims of domestic violence and this needs to start with saving our refuges.:

PETITION

Help us save refuges, save lives

 Our world leading national network of refuges is facing an urgent crisis. Across England, more and more specialist refuges are experiencing massive funding cuts and being closed down. This crisis will cost lives.

SOS women and children turned away

We risk losing this life-saving network of services if we do not act now.

We are calling on the government to Save Our Services by committing to preserving the national network of specialist refuges by exploring a new model of national refuge funding and commissioning.

What is happening to specialist refuges across England?

SOS specialist services

Specialist refuges are services which are designed to meet the needs specifically of women domestic violence survivors and their children. The specialist and woman-only nature of services ensures that women and children feel safe, secure and supported and removes any barriers to them finding a safe place when they are escaping domestic violence. Specialist refuges help women and children escape, cope and rebuild their lives after domestic violence.

Being in a refuge might be the first safe space that children and young people may have had in a long time. Specialist provision for children and young people from refuge staff is vital as it allows them to have their health and educational needs addressed individually. Children and young people can also explore the impact of the abuse they have experienced in an understanding environment, which can minimise long term negative cognitive, behavioural and emotional effects, enabling them to reach their potential. To find out more about what a refuge is like inside take a tour around our Virtual Refuge on The Hideout website.

Our national network of specialist domestic violence refuges is in crisis like never before:

• Between 2010 and 2014 (July) the number of specialist refuge services decreased from 187 to 155.

In England, according to Council of Europe recommendations, there is a shortfall of 1,727 refuge bedspaces (32%).

• In one day in 2013, 155 women and their 103 children were turned away from refuge because they could not be accommodated.

•  48% of 167 domestic violence services in England said that they were running services without funding. Six refuge services were being run without dedicated funding and using up their reserves to keep their services going.

• Between April and July 2014, ten specialist domestic violence services across England lost funding for services they were providing. All but one of these nine services lost their services to a non-specialist service provider.

• Our world leading national network of refuges is facing an urgent crisis. Please help us Save Our Services.

PETITION

#DickheadDetox XVALA for sexual violence

XVALA is apparently an “artist” – in the loosest possible definition of the word who has somehow managed to get himself a show at the Cory Allen Contemporary Art (CACA) in Florida. Personally, I’ve never heard of either of them but that’s because I prefer my artists not to engage in or perpetrate sexual violence.

Now, I’m sure XVALA (whoever or whatever that is) will be having absolute kittens about me suggesting they are engaged in sexual violence but his latest “show” (if you can call it that) is called Fear Google and will feature images of Jennifer Lawrence, stolen from iCloud  in the latest hacker crime, and Scarlett Johansonn, whose images were stolen several years ago. Supposedly showing life size images of women naked, taken without consent, is to demonstrate how people are “used”.

Let’s be perfectly clear here: taking images without consent is a violation of privacy. Stealing images (and not leaking FFS) of women naked or having sex is part of the spectrum of sexual violence. Selling or viewing these stolen images is sexual violence.

XVALA’s use of these images isn’t art. It’s participating and encouraging the sexual assault of women. He has no right to pretend the use of these images is art. He has no right to use these images. The gallery has no right to display these images. This is sexual exploitation.

Every single person who looks at these images is engaged in the sexual assault of the women.

XVALA is on the #DickheadDetox for participating in rape culture and sexual violence.

 

Ceelo Green: Still Fighting to be #1 on the #DickheadDetox

Ceelo Green’s been on the #DickheadDetox for a while now what with his history of violence against women and inability to take responsibility for his own actions.

His latest foray into proving he’s a violent asshole involves the following tweets:

ceelo-green CeeLo-Green-tweets

I can’t say anything new from what I’ve said before about Green’s perpetuation and perpetration of rape culture but I love the following graphic which I first saw via Ultraviolet

BwrVZeGCIAEtuGe

Jennifer Lawrence is a victim of sexual violence.

Jennifer Lawrence is a victim of sexual violence – so is every single person who has had a photograph or video of them naked or engaged in sex. This runs the gamut from Vanessa Hudgens, Prince Harry, and every single teenage girl who has had images of them passed about the internet.

This isn’t a subject open to debate or which has ‘nuances’: sharing these images is sexual assault. Viewing these images is sexual assault. As I’ve said many times before, publishing these types of images is sexual assault.

There have been some incredibly important blogs written on this “leak of images” today, all of which make it very clear that accessing images you are not given permission to see is, at the very least, immoral – and a crime if the images are used to humiliate, denigrate or abuse. Sharing, distributing or viewing images involving nudity or sex are a crime of sexual violence.

If you are looking at these images or sharing them, you are committing sexual assault. You are perpetrating rape culture. YOU are the problem – not the women in the photos.

Some reading:

Jennifer Lawrence Doesn’t Need to Laugh This One Off at The Daily Beast

Stealing Intimate Photos is a Sex Crime, and Should Be Treated As Such. at Belle Jar

Reports on ‘Leaked Nude Photos‘ — Just Another Form of Victim-Blaming at Crates & Ribbons