The newly formed group is working alongside GM Citizens to campaign for misogyny to be made a hate crime
This week marked the first meeting of the newly-formed Greater Manchester Women’s Alliance, who along with GM Citizens are building a working group to campaign to have misogyny made a hate crime.
The meeting followed a rally organised in December in last year, attended by representatives of TRC, which welcomed a diverse range of speakers and performers to highlight the issue and publicise the need for action.
Misogyny, which involves showing dislike, contempt or ingrained prejudice against women, sadly remains a daily occurrence for many women in our society.
In September of last year, Labour MP Stella Creasy put forward an amendment to the upskirting bill, calling for the addition of misogyny as an aggravating behaviour in England and Wales. This would enable courts to consider it when sentencing an offender and require police forces to record it.
The amendment was proposed following a successful pilot scheme in Nottinghamshire, which became the first UK police force to record public harassment of women – including groping, explicit language, or taking unwanted photographs – as a misogyny hate crime. However, despite the successful passing of the Voyeurism Bill – or more commonly referred to as the ‘upskirting’ bill – earlier this year, this amendment has yet to be implemented throughout the UK.
Hate crime is currently classed as offences motivated by hostility based on race, religion, trans identity, sexual orientation or disability.
Citizens UK, home of national community organising, is leading the campaign and currently working with the Law Commission Review into Hate Crime. After receiving agreement from Law Commissioner David Omerod QC that the Law Commission panel will visit Greater Manchester of September 2019, GM Citizens took the decision to form a GM Women’s Alliance to campaign locally ahead of the event.
The Alliance, made up of communities and organisations from across the region, will work collectively to capture data and evidence to present to the panel, alongside gathering stories of women with lived experience of misogyny-motivated offences or incidents in the Greater Manchester area.
The secondary objective of the Alliance is to have Greater Manchester follow the example of Nottinghamshire, Avon and Somerset and North Yorkshire police forces in adopting a scheme to record gender-based hate crime, rather than waiting for legislation to pass centrally.
In its campaign statement, Citizens UK highlights that an overwhelming majority of young women (85%) and nearly half (45%) of all women have been sexually harassed in public places. Yet, only one in ten receives help after these incidents. Formally recognising it as a crime would ensure the offences are taken seriously, perpetrators are investigated and support made available for victims.
Trafford Rape Crisis is proud to support the campaign and will be actively participating in the Alliance to drive the initiative forward.
“Serious crimes, including sexual assault and rape, don’t happen in a vacuum,” explains TRC Centre Manager Fiaza, who attended the gathering.
“They are part of a much larger-scale and deeply engrained problem in our society, where violence against women just isn’t considered a priority. Everyday displays of misogynistic behaviour, including groping, unsolicited ‘dick pics’ and sexual or explicit language, all feed into this, with a corresponding correlation between those grass-roots behaviours, and crimes such as sexual violence or rape.
“Addressing misogyny in all its forms is crucial if we are to really change how society views and treats violence against women. We are proud to be a part of this campaign and act as a part of the GM Women’s Alliance.”
To follow the progress of the campaign, search for hashtag #misogynyishate or follow @misogynyishate on social media.