Today from a friend’s facebook page : “2022 and women are still being told to shut up and sit down- Our voices are silenced and our injuries are minimised. Everyone turns a blind eye………… It isn’t normal and it isn’t how it should be ……. I am so so tired, and nothing has improved…..”
A few activities
I haven’t written a blog for months so thought it would be good to pick up and do some thinking – The last time was before the Engage Conference and the solidarity vigils with Reclaim the Night, and the very small demonstrations at the courts in London and Manchester and the fundraising for Afghan Women and Womens Aid.
Low Numbers Those were all good things to do, but there were about 100 involved in total on the 3 day zoom conference events, half a dozen at the Courts demos to challenge the misogyny and sexism of the court system, and a similar handful at the men’s solidarity vigil with the local Reclaim the Night march. It is important to carry out these events, but it is not really the long looked for awakening of men’s activism to challenge sexism and men’s violence.
BUT it is still essential to show that there are men more than some of the men who want to change ourselves and the sexist society within which we operate, as well as hundreds of thousands more who will agree once change happens that it was necessary and the majority millions who will accept the change once is it law.
10 years of not benefitting from improved lives (UK not ratifying the Istanbul Convention)
This year, the 8th of June marks the 10th anniversary of the date that David Cameron, as Prime Minister signed the Istanbul Convention, the working name for the “Council for Europe Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women, and domestic violence.” committing the UK to this far reaching European convention. However it does not become law in the UK until parliament ratifies the convention. The only two countries not to have signed it are Russian Federation and Azerbaijan, and Turkey has withdrawn from its commitments 35 countries have ratified the Convention which provides a comprehensive legal framework to combatting violence against women. It requires states tp criminalise psychological violence, stalking, physical vi8olence, all non conse4xual sex, forced marriage, fgm . It also requires states to act against sexual harassment. The Convention emphasises the need to work on Prevention , and in particular calls on states to especially encourage men and boys to contribute actively to preventing all forms of violence covered by the scope of the convention. This year we must redouble our efforts to support the work of ICChange which campaigns to ensure that the Convention is ratified.
At the mixedTodmorden Reclaim the Night rally after the women only march, the list of women murdered by men in the last 12 months was read out, and I had been asked to bring it up to date and deliver it to the event organisers. It was the first time I had had such a task, and the typing out of 12 names of women whose lives had been cut short of the it was sobering and focussing on the need for me to do more to change my attitudes and behaviour, and to do more to challenge the behaviour of my friends, relatives and colleagues.