We’ve all heard the term ‘Battle of the Sexes.’ It’s a gross misnomer. It implies the sides are evenly matched and actively competing. War on Women is a far better term. It’s real, institutional and global in it’s scale. And it’s pissing me off.
Almost every news story over the weekend showed some aspect of it. The Abortion Ban protests all over the US. In the UK, the reporting on how poorly the police protect women. The silence from the women of Afghanistan.
Then Facebook went down for 6 hours and that’s what all the news is about. It’s as if the Male dominated media was happy to move on to something else, a topic that didn’t require any uncomfortable introspection.
A few weeks ago I ranted about the Texas Abortion Ban (A Vibrator and a Taser; Your Body, Your Choice. Check it out if you haven’t read it.) In it I lamented the staggering ignorance of the Texas lawmakers in regards to women’s health. In the weeks since, I surmised it wasn’t ignorance, but indifference. They don’t care about the consequences of banning safe, legal abortion. Because ‘safe’ and ‘legal’ are the only things they can ban. Abortions will still happen, but they will happen in secret, in a back alley, dark web scenario, or online searches for how to induce a miscarriage with common household items. The result will be a sharp increase in traumatic injury, infertility and death. But it’s something that only happens to women, so they don’t worry about it, or label it the tragic consequence of the woman’s lifestyle. Because a short skirt or low cut top can lead to spontaneous pregnancy, nothing to do with a man’s behaviour.
On March 3rd, a woman named Sarah Everard disappeared from the Clapham area of South London. On March 9th, a police officer was arrested for her kidnap and murder. It’s a case that highlights just how badly the police deal with women.
There was a vigil held for Sarah, on Clapham Common, mourning Sarah and many other victims of violence against women. The police arrived to break up the peaceful vigil as it violated Lockdown restriction. Instead of getting female officers to make announcements and ask them to disperse, the Met Police sent in male officers who forcibly arrested many of the women.
Wayne Couzens was able to kidnap Sarah by showing his badge and ‘arresting’ her for violating lockdown rules.
How are women meant to protect themselves FROM THE POLICE? The advice from the Police Commissioners has been…. unhelpful.
“women approached by a lone plain-clothes officer should demand to know why he has no colleagues with him and ask him to prove who he is, before adding that they could “shout out to a passer-by, run into a house, knock on a door, wave a bus down or call 999”.
I would call it ridiculous if it wasn’t so frightening. Wayne Couzens proved who he was, used the authority of his badge to commit a violent crime. Had Sarah called out to a passer-by, they would likely have taken the policeman’s word, if they even stopped to investigate. Running into a random house, knocking on a stranger’s door, are these serious suggestions? Call 999. Call the police….. on the police.
The response of police officials is for women to be more ‘streetwise.’ They want women to alter their routines and behaviour, so that they, the police, don’t need to.
This is not a problem that women can fix, because the problem is not the women. It’s the men, and the institutions that protect them. They need to sort themselves out.
And I’m not saying all men are potential rapists or abusers. #notallmen. Except it is most men. Not all by action, most by inaction. I don’t need a man to hold the door open, or give up his seat for me. On a date, I can pay for my own dinner. I don’t need ‘A Gentleman.’ I need men to not brag to their friends about who they’ve slept with and how easy someone is, and I need men to call out their friends who do. I need men to not assume they have a right to kiss or even touch a women without clear consent, or to assume consent based on how she’s dressed, or if she smiles at him.
I need the following phrases eliminated from the English Language:
Boys will be Boys.
Locker room talk.
She was asking for it
Cheer up, Luv, Give us a smile.
I need the institutions to police themselves better. To investigate and punish charges of sexual harassment and assault. When these charges are brought to people in authority, be it the boss or the police, they tend to get brushed aside because “allegations like this can ruins a man’s life.” No consideration for how the harassment or assault can ruin a woman’s life.
It’s not Ignorance that is the greatest weapon men have in the War on Women. It’s Indifference. I don’t know how we fight that.
Very well put.