Posts Tagged 'rape'

Do you challenge everyday misogyny and ‘rape culture’?

In today’s guest blog post Miriam David explains why the need to challenge every day misogyny and ‘rape culture’ is more relevant and necessary than ever…

Miriam David’s book Reclaiming feminism: challenging everyday misogyny publishes today! For more details and to get your copy click here.

Miriam David

Miriam David

Unexpectedly driving down Park Lane, London the other day, I witnessed a most horrifying larger‐than‐life sculpture – the white marble nude body of a young woman draped over a muscular man’s bronze hand and arm.

What better evidence of ‘everyday misogyny’ and the objectification of women’s bodies and its violent treatment?

I was astonished to note its location behind Buckingham Palace Gardens and not half a mile away from Parliament and Trafalgar Square.

But on reflection, this area of real estate is prime for neo‐liberal international property developers, not known for their critiques of gender relations but currently raping London’s properties.

Call girls and escort agencies

Continue reading ‘Do you challenge everyday misogyny and ‘rape culture’?’

Should Ken Clarke resign over rape comments?

What started off earlier in the week as proposals to change the way offenders generally are sentenced, soon turned into a media storm when Justice Secretary Ken Clarke made his incorrect, outdated, and downright offensive comments about rape. Accusing the media of adding ‘sexual excitement’ to the story by focusing on rape as opposed to other crimes and suggesting that some rapes are not as serious as others, have resulted in calls for his resignation.

So should he resign? I do my fair share of media work, so have some sympathy with feeling flustered when put on the spot and fearing that I will choose the wrong words and inadvertently upset someone. But Ken Clarke must have realised immediately from the response he got that this had caused an angry reaction, so why dig yourself in deeper? Why not apologise immediately if you did you not mean what you said and simply used the wrong words?

He has, reportedly, sent a written apology to the woman who audibly broke down on the radio phone in when describing what happened to her and the response from the criminal justice system. But he has caused distress to more than that one woman. He has undermined the hard work done by criminal justice and healthcare professionals, by rape crisis workers, by family and friends who support people who have been raped, and has likely caused distress to many who have been raped. In my opinion, Ken Clarke should offer a blanket apology to anyone who was offended by his words and he should sit down and listen to the experiences of people who have been raped by someone close to them. I can guarantee that he would make sure he chose his words more carefully if he really listened to the impact that rape had had one their lives. If he is not willing to do this, he should resign in my opinion.

The Ken Clarke media storm has also meant that a piece of good news has been buried this week. Rape Crisis Centres have just been told whether they have been successful in their funding bids for a contribution towards their costs for the next three years. For the Centres that have been successful, this represents the most stability they have ever had. It is something that the national Rape Crisis movement have campaigned for for many years and which has now come to fruition, with thanks to Home Secretary Theresa May.

I am glad that there will now be more access to Rape Crisis Centres and hope that a more sensible discussion can be had with the coalition government about how the criminal justice system can best improve its response to rape. Whether or not that discussion will include Ken Clarke is yet to be known.

by Nicole Westmarland, co-author of International approaches to rape, published in April 2011.

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