The trouble with Reclaiming The Night…


3:10 pm - November 23rd 2008

by Laurie Penny    


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Last night, on the platform at Camden Town, I gave the friend I’d been out with a big hug and saw her onto her train before settling down to wait for the last tube home to Wood Green. Just then, I heard a voice behind me.

‘Do I get a hug too?’

Two lads, about my age, maybe a little older, looking like something out of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’, and grinning. I stiffened, smiled and said, ‘no, you don’t’, not wanting to seem what I was. Which was scared, and angry.

Suddenly, I was a small, skinny young woman in London on her own, and here were some blokes who might or might not be about to give me some trouble. Defence mechanism one: Blunt and Rude hadn’t worked, because they were now laughing and looking mock-hurt. So I opted for Defence Mechanism Two: bore them away.

I shook hands, introduced myself, started asking interminable questions about where they were born, what jobs they did, giving monosyllabic answers. The train rolled in and I still couldn’t shake them off: we were apparently going to the same stop. And not for the first time, I found myself thinking: if I’d gone to Reclaim The Night like a good little feminist, this wouldn’t be happening.

If I hadn’t refused to march through another biting November night, shouting ‘Men Off The Streets!’, I’d be surrounded by sisters with placards and bovver boots rather than having to negotiate the potential danger posed by two men decidedly *on* the streets.

As we rattled past Caledonian road, one of the lads went quiet. And then he started telling me how, about a month ago, he and his father were attacked by a group of guys at Cally Road station. He came out with a few scratches. His father was still in hospital, having suffered potentially catastrophic brain damage. The other man was his cousin, who had come down from Liverpool to help the family out.

I listened. And then I explained how, about a year ago, I was nearly raped outside the same tube station. I explained about the calculations women make when faced with a lone man, or a group of men – and they nodded, and talked about very similar calculations that men make when they’re out after dark. We talked about male violence against women, and male violence against men. I told them about Reclaim The Night, and why I wasn’t there.

Because violence in the streets is something that affects all genders. Because as much as I want to support my sisters in their anger and their defiance, I have too many brothers who have been mentally and spiritually broken by beatings, who have had legs, fingers and self-confidence shattered by laughing strangers, who have not yet recovered – who may never recover – from living saturated in a sick culture of masculised violence.

Brutality is bred in the bone in this country, in playgrounds, in the streets, and at home. It runs even deeper than a simple insult to women perpetrated by patriarchy. We are not as civilised as we like to think. Sooner or later, we all learn to fight, or we learn to run, or we learn to lie down and take the kicks and learn to hate. Sooner or later, we all learn to be afraid to walk the streets after dark.

Would I like to live in a world where all women felt safe at night? Damn straight. And all men, too. And all boys, all girls, all transpeople, bankers and shopkeepers and streetwalkers: none of us should have to steel ourselves for a beating when we pop to the shops for milk. This is something that needs to be addressed urgently in our culture. It’s not just a feminist problem; it’s a gendered crisis that makes new demands of feminism, and I will not be Reclaiming any Night until the men and transpeople whom I love are allowed to march beside me.

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About the author
Laurie Penny is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. She is a journalist, blogger and feminist activist. She is Features Assistant at the Morning Star, and blogs at Penny Red and for Red Pepper magazine.
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Reader comments


This is quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever read on this site. Wonderful writing.

I’ll add my autograph to that! Excellent post.

See, I was trying to figure out what I could possibly post today as the site’s a bit too quiet. Then you post this.

I think I’ll leave it at the top for awhile. Well said.

Excellent.

Thank you guys! *blush*

6. Mike Killingworth

I went to church (for the first time in ages) to-day and you know what? This has moved me more. Many thanks, Laurie.

The trouble with this article is that it shows complete ignorance and lack of understanding about what Reclaim the Night is actually about.

It’s not just a protest about violence in the streets, which I agree affects both genders, albeit in different ways, it’s a protest about rape, domestic and sexual violence, which I’m sure even Laurie wouldn’t dispute are overwhelmingly gendered crimes.

When Reclaim the Night first began in the UK in the ’70s the Yorkshire Ripper was at large in the north of the country, and women were being advised by the police that the only way they could guarantee their safety was to stay off the streets at night. The march was a direct response to this attempt to effectively curfew women, and a powerful statement against the idea that when it is men who are creating an unsafe and threatening environment for women, it should be women who are confined to their homes and their freedoms restricted.

The same advice was given to women in Ipswich a couple of years ago, when 5 young women were murdered in the city; and a slightly watered down message is given to all women when they’re told that to avoid rape they should dress less provocatively, not drink etc etc.

So Reclaim the Night has been revived to protest these messages, and to protest the idea that women should modify their behaviour and limit their own freedoms in order to avoid rape and sexual violence.

It’s also to protest the appalling conviction rate for rape, which still stands at only 5.6%. When the marches began in 1977 feminists were outraged that only 1 in 3 rapists were ever convicted, and yet today that figure stands at 1 in 20, so we’ve even more reason to be outraged and to speak out against it than we were back in the day.

Far from shouting “men off the streets”, which despite Julie B mentioning it in her article about RTN this time last year (and where I’m guessing Laurie picked it up from), I’ve yet to hear anyone chant it on a RTN march in this decade, women on the march chant slogans such as “Whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no.” I’d be surprised if Laurie found anything objectionable about that one.

And finally, Reclaim the Night is timed to fall on the Saturday closest to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, White Ribbon Day, which is on November 25th every year, so it’s also an expression of solidarity with our sisters throughout the globe who are subjected to heinous gendered violence such as FGM, so-called honour crimes, rape as a weapon of war and so on. Perhaps Laurie’s next so-called feminist act will be to argue that there’s nothing gendered about VAW, and that White Ribbon day should also be ditched in favour of something a bit more inclusive…..good luck with that one.

And finally finally, while RTN is a women only march (and that includes trans women), the rally and social event at the end of it is always mixed. This year there was also the opportunity for men to show their solidarity by taking part in a men’s vigil in Trafalgar Square.

My advice would be that if you want to organise a mixed protest about violence in society in general, then go for it, I’m sure you’d get a lot of takers (me included), but if you’re going to simply boycott an event and then write an article explaining why you’re doing that, at least try and show some understanding of what exactly it is you’re boycotting..

Slightly O/T – but Cath, this:

“When the marches began in 1977 feminists were outraged that only 1 in 3 rapists were ever convicted, and yet today that figure stands at 1 in 20, so we’ve even more reason to be outraged…”

screams ‘mis-use of statistics’ to me. Are you really suggesting that in the past thirty years there has been an 80% increase in the proportion of rapists who are let off even though they are guilty? Even though the quality of evidence (e.g. DNA evidence) that can be used in court now compared to the late seventies has substantially improved?

Could it perhaps instead be the case that many more cases are coming to trial now that wouldn’t have reached the court-room thirty years ago, and maybe those cases are the ones in which it is hard to reach the level of proof required to convict a man of rape? Cases, for instance, where the question of consent comes down to one individual’s word against another’s?

I find this continual raising by feminists of the so-called “appalling conviction rate” in debates on this topic really rather distasteful. I get the impression some people aren’t remotely interested in justice and due process, and just want to see more men locked up.

Cath,

The thing is, I do understand RTN. I understand the reasons for it, and I know the history. I was there last year, and I was deeply saddened at the violence that broke out between different factions of feminists and the general discontent amongs people who felt marginalised at the event. Oh, and I did hear ‘men off the streets’, as well as a lot of other gender-exclusionist slogans.

I boycotted the march for several reasons. One of them was the fact that men and many transwomen are excluded; another is the fact that I find it counter-productive to the aims of the movement in general.

‘A powerful statement against the idea that when it is men who are creating an unsafe and threatening environment for women, it should be women who are confined to their homes and their freedoms restricted.’

I see this, as I’ve said above, as a much larger problem even than male violence against women. I don’t think it’s only women’s freedoms that are restricted here, and I think that this issue cannot and should not be separated from (mainly) male violence against other men, against the disabled, against ethnic minorities, and against the elderly. All of these groups often feel fear when they face going out onto the streets for reasons which are coded along gender-, racial- and ablist- lines, but which also run deeper. A lot of these groups also face violence at home. We are faced, here, with a society which engenders brutality at all levels and ensures that the ONLY people who aren’t actively encouraged to stay indoors at times are young, ethnic majority men in large groups. I find that wrong on so many levels.

Add to that the fact that sex workers’ rights groups were refused a platform at the last event, that transwomen were intimidated, that socialist feminists got screamed at by other factions in the street and that there were actual scuffles over the no-platform policy, and there were several reasons for my staying away this year. I’m sick of these violent splits in the feminist movement, and I’m a basically gentle person who didn’t want to get drawn into active violence *between* women, because it would depress me and because I would probably lose. I absolutely hate it when things get nasty, and I think the time is absolutely right to build a more syncretic movement, to open our minds to one half of the human race, many of whom share some our issues directly as well as sympathising.

Oh, and I also absolutely object to the notion that domestic violence and sexual violence are just women’s problems, although I concede that vastly more men than women are perpetrators. I am close to several male rape victims who would take issue on that score.

I’m not going to respond to the declaration on an open forum that I’m not a feminist, because, again, this doesn’t need to get nasty.

QuestionThat:

‘Could it perhaps instead be the case that many more cases are coming to trial now that wouldn’t have reached the court-room thirty years ago, and maybe those cases are the ones in which it is hard to reach the level of proof required to convict a man of rape? Cases, for instance, where the question of consent comes down to one individual’s word against another’s?’

Yes, that’s part of it. But that doesn’t mean that rape doesn’t happen, it just means that rape is quite hard to prove. Less than 6% of *reported* rapes result in a conviction. What this means, in practice, is that prosecutors refuse to bring rapes to the courtroom because they believe that without irrefutable evidence it simply won’t be worth it. Basically, it’s not enough for a woman to say that she has been raped – which is not the case, for instance, if anyone walks in off the street and reports, for example, GBH. Rape is quite hard to prove. It’s not impossible to prove. And it would be a whole lot easier to prove is prosecutors, police and the entire British judiciary wasn’t morally stacked against women, particularly in cases where sex is involved.

Let’s put this one in context. In Saudi, at the extreme end of this paradigm, a rape case will only reach court if a man has literally been caught in the act by four male witnesses of good character. Because otherwise there isn’t deemed to be enough evidence. The state gets to decide how much evidence is a bottom line for a woman to even be able to make a claim of rape: and this is where that ends.

Laurie, I suspect from your last comment that you’re actually getting RTN and Million Women Rise mixed up……

Also “overwhelmingly gendered” does not mean that they are “just” women’s issues, it means that women are disproportionately affected by them.

Great post, Laurie, thank you.

Cath, you raise interesting points too.

I wish I had the brain space to think tonight. May muse on this and come back.

(aka: this is a placeholder comment)

“Brutality is bred in the bone in this country, in playgrounds, in the streets, and at home. It runs even deeper than a simple insult to women perpetrated by patriarchy. We are not as civilised as we like to think. Sooner or later, we all learn to fight, or we learn to run, or we learn to lie down and take the kicks and learn to hate. Sooner or later, we all learn to be afraid to walk the streets after dark.”

I think this is a slight over simplification, which is not to say it is not a legitimate experience of Britain that one might have. I think we are a relatively civilised society and there are plenty of places that you can walk around at night in confidence that you are safe. If this situation as you describe were the case, however, it would certainly justify a right for citizens to carry handguns. That way you can at least equalize any potentially violent situation, and permit law-abiding men and women to take sufficient precautions to walk the streets at night: http://www.amazon.co.uk/More-Guns-Less-Crime-Understanding/dp/0226493644/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1227485963&sr=8-1

It turns out that even when you can’t rely on some members of the public to be socialised enough to behave non-violently towards you, you can still rely on them not to initiate violence if they fear the outcome might go against them. It is impunity they are looking for when they look for someone to exert power over (by rape, mugging or assault), not a challenge.

In general, I think this article is great, although I am sure perspectives on Reclaim the Night will depend on individual experiences and if you end up marching with a bunch of man-haters, you are obviously going to come to a narrower view of its intentions.

It might interest you to know, Laurie, that Reclaim the Night North in Manchester on 21st February next year will have an open block so that men can march too, and any women who do not want to march in the women’s only section.

I spoke for this, as well as speaking for the march being about violence against everyone, at an NUS Women’s Committee meeting a few weeks ago. Allowing men to march is not going all the way, though I wish it were – but it’s a step forward.

Last night, I was part of a group of people shouting for the rights of everyone on the streets at night, not just women. The LFN didn’t like it much, but that was hardly a surprise. We got the attention of a couple of people who had stopped to watch the march, though – and a man stood by the side of the road thanked me for our shouts.

Hopefully, these changes are the signs of a light at the end of the tunnel.

Great article. I never realised just how violent it was in some parts of the UK, until I moved to live in another country that was significantly less violent.

Excellent post Laurie. I think I agree with you entirely, although I just wanted to check out some of the phrasing around “this isn’t just a feminist problem”. I’m sure you didn’t mean it to be interpreted as saying that feminism per se deals exclusively with the issues that women face in isolation from others: in a sense that’s a problem with some of the strands within feminism (the same sort of “rad”-fem positioning that ignores groups representing sex workers when dealing with legislation in that area), but it is far from universal within feminism.

Overall though, too right and more power to yer elbow!

Very nicely written.

But the issue seems to have become about the internal politics of a march, women-only sections, and so on.

Other than demonstrating our joint disgust at the level of casual violence which we all face, what practical steps can we take to reclaim the night – perhaps for now at least stopping short of Nick’s suggestion of carrying a handgun!

Great post Laurie. See, not all of us young, early 20 year old males are out to knife crime people.

Not wanting to take the thread off topic – but take everything from John Lott with a bucketload of salt. Here’s some stuff on ‘More Guns, Less Crime’ (within a larger category about other problems with Lott’s work):

Deltiod

It’s dangerous because we’ve given up the streets to the drunks, the yobs, the rapists and the kniefemen. We need more police on the street, especially after dark, otherwise the undesirables take over. Unfortunately the left (for misguided and naive reasons) have progressively made it harder for the police to act as an effective force (and it needs a force not a “service”) to counter yobbery, especially against the group most likely to perpetuate violent crime, males under 24.

Keep creating the single parent families and you keep perpetuating the “challenging behaviour” in their offspring today and the broken bottle in a strangers face tomorrow.

Feminism is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Beautifully written article.

“It’s dangerous because we’ve given up the streets to the drunks, the yobs, the rapists and the kniefemen.”

Yes, we handed our street over last week. Had a little ceremony n’ all.

The drunks, yobs, rapists and knifemen have promised to look after it, though.

Ben

Great analysis of the problem ben and a finely honed argument supporting your solution……….

First, Laurie, I really liked your article.

I don’t want to hijack this thread but I’m concerned about the rape statistics in the comments. Cath:

the appalling conviction rate for rape, which still stands at only 5.6%. When the marches began in 1977 feminists were outraged that only 1 in 3 rapists were ever convicted, and yet today that figure stands at 1 in 20, so we’ve even more reason to be outraged and to speak out against it than we were back in the day.

It depends on how we define ‘conviction rate’. If we define it as convictions secured out of allegations made, yes it is 1 in 20. If we define it as conviction secured out of cases tried, it is roughly 1 in 2. (I don’t know where you got the 1 in 3 rate from, what sort of conviction rate does that refer to?)

More people are being found guilty of rape but the conviction rate is falling because the number of allegations is increasing. (Note however that it appears rape is under-reported.)

A huge concern is the ‘attrition’ rate. That is where victims ‘drop out’ (or are dropped out) of the process: between half and two thirds “drop out” before referral to prosecutors. Victim “withdrawals” account for one third of cases “lost at police stage”. Attrition covers a whole host of issues.

The point being, that statistics don’t tell the whole story.

And I’m not saying Cath wants this at all, but some Labour Ministers seem to offer us such statistics in order to weaken the burden of proof and otherwise make it easier to convict people.

24. Col. Richard Hindrance (Mrs)

Matt Munro: Reactionary tosh.

And no, I won’t “debate” with you. And no, it’s not because I “can’t” or I “hate people disgreeing.”

It’s just that I’ve spent decades listening to similarly boring nobbers dispensing your tired specious 3rd-hand Daily Mail-culled-talking-points and it is all simply *too* ghastly to have to contemplate trudging through it all again.

The vast majority of the mainstream media parrots your stupid opinions, so be happy with that.

Cock.

Don’t flatter yourself love – I don’t want to debate with you either.

26. Col. Richard Hindrance (Mrs)

Then go away, you ridiculous man.

Just out of interest – were there any policewomen marching or protecting the protest?

28. Mike Killingworth

[23] Has there been any study of the attrition rate? I would assume (until I’m told otherwise) that victims who don’t see the case through to court are principally women who have been raped by a man they were previously in a sexual relationship with, rather than those who had been raped by an utter stranger.

I can appreciate that the woman herself might prefer to “move on” (hopefully having drawn some conclusions about the kind of man she fancies) yet this is directly contrary to the public interest, that sexually violent men should face the consequences of their actions.

Isn’t there a community of interest between the criminal justice system and the women’s movement here – and a role for the latter in supporting women in this situation to act in the wider interest, even though this conflicts with their own interest as they see it? Erin Pizzey’s incomprehension that women returned again and again to violent relationships seems relevant here.

Mike

And this report makes interesting reading

Keep creating the single parent families and you keep perpetuating the “challenging behaviour” in their offspring today and the broken bottle in a strangers face tomorrow.

Feminism is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

ha ha! MM – maybe you should spend more time on ToryHome instead of posting drivel that is unlikely to get much response other than derision.

32. Mike Killingworth

[29, 30] Thanks, ukliberty. Yes, I’d forgotten the category of “acquainatance rape”. Not sure that I’d want to change my earlier comment, though.

Sorry, Cath, your link doesn’t work.

Mike – are you sure? – it’s working when I click on it.

Anyone else having problems with the link?

Mike

Copy and paste this into your browser:

http://www.hmcpsi.gov.uk/reports/Without_Consent_Thematic.pdf

Cath’s link worked fine for me.

Lol. Or just click on it 🙂

Sorry to be pedantic but you can’t go to Wood Green by standing on the platform at Camden Town. Unless, you were waiting for a Bank train to go to Kings Cross and then change for the Piccadilly Line.

Anyway, I was led to believe that crime is going down and the fear of crime is all the fault of the bogeymen at the Daily Mail.

Well said chav, my views might be unfashionable (they don’t come from the Daily M by the way but from Psychology degree, I don’t read papers) but no one on LC seems to have any idea what to do about crime, despite insisting that it is not an enforcement problem or anything to do with the increasing number of broken families in the country, they are at a loss to say what they would actually do about it other than banging on about it being rooted in ineqaulity and then bemoaning that inequality. Perhaps you have to travel to less violent places to appreciate just how violent the UK has become and liberals never travel outside Islington or Tuscany ? The only other conslusion I can come to is that the left see crime as an inevitable but worthwile side-effect of “progress” towards their ill-defined nirvanah.
Anyway, as you have pointed out there is a delicious contradiction between the left’s matra
“Crime is going down, it is, it is, it is, and anyone who disagrees must be a tabloid reading knuckle dragger or a senile old duffer living in an imagined 1950s golden age that never was” and the apparent need to protest about the (presumably increasing) number of crimes perpetuated by men against women for which the conviction rate is “too low” and against which there must be protests, campaigns, much wailing and gnashing of teeth and the general demonisation of all men.
The odds of a woman being stranger raped are minute (90% of rapists are known to the victim) so “reclaiming the streets” (for who exactly ?) is, in fact, about the very same perception of danger that the left call reactionary tabloid-led paranoia in anyone else.

Perhaps you have to travel to less violent places to appreciate just how violent the UK has become and liberals never travel outside Islington or Tuscany ?

Fun fact: There is a sandwich shop in Barnsley called ‘Tuscany’s’. Not sure whether that makes me part of the liberal intelligentsia or not, but their baguettes are pretty good.

I haven’t read anyone insist that a broken family can’t ever be a cause of crime. Of course it can. But Madonna’s got a broken family at the moment, too, and I rather doubt her kids are going to grow up to start mugging people outside her yoga class. There are many, many reasons why social problems exist in this country, they’ve festered over many decades and will require just as long to solve them. But ranting about family breakdowns as the primary cause – and thereby suggesting that forcing families to stay together is the primary solution – is the kind of thinking which suggests you’re not truly serious about solving those problems.

40. Mike Killingworth

[36] Thanks, that copy-and-paste suggestion worked fine. One thing that leapt out at me while I was speed-reading it was that of their sample of 75 cases that went to court (more accurately 55 since 20 defendants pleaded guilty) only 19 resulted in convictions – just over a third. Surely this is a lot lower than in other cases of violence against the person (or maybe it isn’t).

Having myself served on a jury in a “sex case” (admittedly indecent assault, not rape) I don’t know how to deal with the central problem – that on a jury you focus on the accused, not the witnesses.

The report does point to the importance of victim support

The research conducted for A gap or a chasm? found that those victims
who were supported throughout did not regret pursuing the case,
regardless of the outcome. Conversely, those victims who felt they had
received inadequate support said not only that they would not report an
allegation of rape again, but that they would advise others not to make
such a report

and I can only repeat my earlier suggestion, that surely the quality of such support could only be improved if the Witness Care Officer has links with local women’s groups.

41. Mike Killingworth

Can I just expand the point I made in the second paragraph of my last comment? In that case the man was charged with two offences, and convicted of one (where there was an independent, police, witness to the assault).

It’s entirely possible that our decision disgusted everyone involved – the man because he genuinely believes he didn’t do it, and the girls because they might well conclude that they weren’t believed.

We had some discussion in the jury room (I know, I shouldn’t share this but I’m going to anyway) about what “beyond reasonable doubt” meant in terms of percentage likelihood – we varied between 90% and 99.9%. My problem I suppose is that if, God forbid, my daughter is raped I’d want the jury to go with the former figure but if my son were accused I’d want them to use the latter one.

Do people think that the process would be improved if, like complex fraud trials, juries were done away with in rape cases? Victims arguably might be more willing to go through with it if they only had to face legal professionals – I can see problems with this approach, but I thought I’d throw it into the mix.

Mike, do you not understand what the concept of “reasonable doubt” is? It’s a fairly simple concept, but it’s not numeric.

43. Mike Killingworth

[43] That’s a little cryptic…

‘Unless, you were waiting for a Bank train to go to Kings Cross and then change for the Piccadilly Line.’

Yes, that was exactly what I was doing.

45. Publicansdecoy

Another fabulous post, Laurie. Thank you for writing this.

(Pedantry Corner: That is a picture of a Metropolitan Line train (at Baker Street, I think), not a Northern or Piccadilly)

A very considered and well written piece. Although I would argue that the problem is not so much “masculised violence” as “brutalised masculinity.” This, of course, is a vicious cycle; to paraphrase Samuel Johnson: “man makes himself into a animal to take away the pain of being a man.”

If we wish to break the cycle of brutality we must realise that, for men as much as for women, gender is culture not nature, that masculinity can mean something else. And if we want to instil in our young men the realisation that there is nothing ‘unmanly’ about gentility then we must do what we can to dispel the belief (held by some who should know better) that men are, by nature, violent.

I hope your article goes some way towards reaching such an understanding.

My only gripe with this is that oh so pc word “gender”. I can’t stand it’s use when the correct word is “sex”.

Dan – I think we also need a sober reflection of what man in his “natural” habitat is, and that is a creature prone to engage in violence (amongst other things). I can’t track down a reference right now, but I believe the proportion of individuals dying a violent death in pre-civilised societies is something huge like 30 per cent. Men have been civilised in various ways, first through fairly obvious forms of domination (like slavery) and then through slightly less obvious forms of domination (like institutionalised Christianity). While it is worth attending to the problems of traditional cultural practices, it is also worth remembering why they developed in the first place and what may happen to individuals given a complete vacuum of these cultural practices.

In many ways, one might interpret the small number of youngsters that have ended up joining gangs and engaging in apparently absurd conflicts with other groups over post codes is simply man returning to rather embarrassing form. The cause of some of this violence is not anything that has positively happened to these individuals, just something lacking that wasn’t given proper appreciation before.

“My only gripe with this is that oh so pc word “gender”. I can’t stand it’s use when the correct word is “sex”.”

Except, of course, that in this context ‘sex’ would be entirely inappropriate. ‘Sex’ is a biological term; ‘gender’ pertains to sexual self-conception. The dictionary is your friend.

Sex=male/female. Gender=male/female/neuter etc according to which ever language is being referred to.

If the dictionary was my friend, nights out down the pub would be rather boring. I’d rather spend an afternoon in the library.

Mike: Do people think that the process would be improved if, like complex fraud trials, juries were done away with in rape cases? Victims arguably might be more willing to go through with it if they only had to face legal professionals – I can see problems with this approach, but I thought I’d throw it into the mix.

Three words: Don’t. Go. There. Julie Bindel once argued for precisely this strategy in reply to comments on one of her articles over at CiF, with the added proviso that the judges had to be trained by herself and her feminist colleagues (nice work if you can get it) – another example of the ‘gatekeeping’ that also occurred over prostitution law reform. The current government have already shown a repeated disregard for little legal niceties like due process, so giving them an opportunity to do away with pesky juries to get more convictions in the name of feminism isn’t particularly clever.

Do people think that the process would be improved if, like complex fraud trials, juries were done away with in rape cases?

Improved for who?

Looks like Martin Durkin, of global warming swindle fame, is taking some of these issues on next: http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=3346E319-955A-4E9C-B33C-E5EB6FEC98F3

“Looks like Martin Durkin, of global warming swindle fame, is taking some of these issues on next.”

Could it be the same Martin from above who critcises the use of the term gender as being “PC”?

Missed this post the ifrst time around.

Laurie, I disagree and I think you’re missing the point of the march. The march is, as Cath said, about challenging he idea that women should moderate their behaviour to accommodate violence people.

I went on the march last year (with my Mum) and never heard anything like chants of ‘Men off the streets’ and I do think you are confusing the factional issues you referred to with the Million Women Rise march in 2008.

And the thing is, nobody is suggesting that men aren’t victims of violence, or that they don’t get raped but that women do and we’re fed up with being told to dress differently and keep inside.

And what’s the ‘like a good little feminist’ jibes about?

Agreed completely with Cath’s response to you.

Sorry , clearly lost the ability to spell on that last comment. Or proof read…what’s new!

As a friend said who had worked with disadvantaged youths ” It is cool to be cruel”. Modern society is saturated with violent and abusive behaviour in our media ; from violent computer games such as Doom and Mortal Combat , gangsta rap lyrics to edgy comedians telephoning pensioners and threatening to kill them. Many of our TV programmes involve humiliating people for the amusesment of viewers.Even in our democratic procedures politicians talk about fighting elections not contesting them. The problem is that those who participate in violent computer games, singers of gangsta rap lyric or edgy comedians are not tough. Many left wing middle class commentators have treated chivalry and good manners with contempt. Yet so much of the media colludes in bullying . Many tough working class men are gentlemen. Usually,even in the toughest pubs in the docks men did not swear in front of the barmaids

If one has ever met veterans of WW2 who were in the Commandos, Parachute Regiment, SAS/SBS or SOE though these people were trained to kill and had done so, invariably they were not violent or aggressive people in civilian life- they had experienced the horrors of war. Having survived the horors of war they wanted a quiet life. One former member of the SOE when asked about his war experience he said it was unpleasant and changed the subject. Even to his closest friends he did not mention that he had won the DCM and endured torture at the hands of the Gestapo. He was a modest and chivalrous warrior.

As boxing and rugby has declined boys and men have become more feeble but more vicious and cowardly. Invariably , it is the cowardly runt who is a vicious bully.Boys and men who are genuinely tough do not attack as a pack an individual, or those who are weaker than them or attack others with weapons. Brendan Ingle, the Sheffield trainer and Sir Henry Cooper are correct in saying that boys and young men should take up boxing – let them demonstrate their toughness in the ring. As a start stop buying any records which glorify violence and denigrate women. The problem is that many weak and insecure boys and men think that violent and yobbish behaviour makes them tough. If these oiks took up boxing they would probably become better behaved as the discipline of training would force them to become more modest and respectful of others.

58. Mike Killingworth

[59] Charlie, if you think boxing’s the answer I have just two words to say to you:

Mike Tyson.

60 Mike . Mike tyson was heading to be a very dangerous violent criminal before he took up boxing. At the age of 12 yrs old 2 police officer struggled to control his violent out bursts .Angelo Dundee his trainer became a surrogate father figure. If Mike Tyson had not taken up boxing there was high chance he would have murdered someone by now. There was a very good article on Brendan Ingle , the Sheffield trainer, I think in the in the Guardian or Independent a few years back, showing examples where boys who had taken up boxing had become decent and useful members of society. Sir Henry Cooper grew up near the Old Kent Road ; it may be useful listening to his views. It would be an interesting study to see if boxing did prevent youths from becoming criminals.

Surely one of the problems is that few men are prepared to go to the assistance of those being attacked. That is why so many violent criminals are so brazen. It is impossible to have a police officers at the end of each street. It is up to all of us to help those being attacked. An attack on one person is an attack on the whole of society. The reality is that violent criminals are rapidly terrorising honest society into submission. How often is domestic violence or child abuse allowed to continue because neighbours are to scared to intervene? People are too scared even to telephone the Police of Social Services.


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  3. Nicole Rowe

    @WeekWoman It's an old article, but it's pretty much what about the menzing all over the shop. http://t.co/7krVT7Bi

  4. Nicole Rowe

    @NewToFeminism Quite. The lovely Cath Elliott rebuts her very well under the article. http://t.co/7krVT7Bi





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