Boris’s Big Plans

// 18 May 2009

Well I figured it was about time I went online and filled in the survey on the Mayor of London’s “consultation” on his violence against women strategy. I was just trundling through, ticking boxes and adding comments when I realised I was experiencing a growing sense of unease over the whole thing.

I mean for instance I’m ticking a box to say that I agree that a priority should be to:

“4. Respond to the needs of at risk and marginalised women.”

or

“3.Respond to the needs of children and young people experiencing violence.”

or

“2. Clamping down on traffickers”

They are seriously asking me whether or not these issues should be a priority. Did anyone log on and tick “no – don’t bother to help children”, “no – leave the traffickers alone”?

And here’s the thing – no-one would ever EVER do a survey asking Londoners what types of terrorism the Metropolitan police should be focusing on. Tick this box if you think we should try to prevent bombs on the tube, and this box if you’re opposed to terrorists spreading anthrax. The strategy has always quite rightly been to do everything possible to prevent all types of terrorism.

Domestic violence kills two women in the UK every week. Rape is so poorly dealt with by police and in courts that it might as well be legal most of the time. What Boris Johnson’s violence against women strategy should do is every single thing in its power to end violence against women. Obviously and immediately. A three month long “consultation” consisting of an online survey to find out whether or not Londoners think “at risk and marginalised women” should be protected is a waste of time and an insult to both the intelligence of people of London and more importantly the women suffering rape, violence, intimidation and harassment.

Comments From You

Rob M // Posted 18 May 2009 at 2:29 am

Mmm, it’s a statistics generator. Just make sure you write things in the “extra thoughts” boxes, or – possibly better – write them an actual letter. Don’t leave them with the “on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (like, totally), how much do you reckon a fantastically reductive and inappropriate numerical choice helps reduce your opinion to an easily manipulated number?”

However,

And here’s the thing – no-one would ever EVER do a survey asking Londoners what types of terrorism the Metropolitan police should be focusing on.

I wouldn’t be so sure of this. Not long since, I saw a bus-stop poster from the mighty police (or possibly a council) asking you to text vote for which problem you wanted them to tackle. As if that alone wasn’t bizarre enough, it was a similarly baffling case of two things which really should not be in binary opposition – something like “making the streets safer at night” / “stopping burglaries” – where they really needed a third option of “HOW ABOUT YOU DO BOTH!”

Jennifer Drew // Posted 18 May 2009 at 10:56 am

Agree with you Kate, a three month consultation is way too long and the issue of men’s violence against women is one which affects all women disproportionately, and this includes women of every ethnicity, culture, race, ableness etc.

In order for our views to be registered and recorded it is imperative that we send written responses to this consultation. The dept. responsible for this consultation are actively promoting responses and ideas concerning precisely where the four proposed Rape Crisis Centres should be geographically located in London, as well as seeking information/ideas on good practice methods.

All forms of male violence against women are important and are inter-connected not isolated or separate incidents. Which is why male terrorism within familial relationships cannot be separated out from routine mundane acts of male sexual harassment against women and girls within the public sphere. But getting this message across to politicians (primarily male) is so difficult because it is much easier to have campaigns/consultations which deal with ‘piece-meal’ male acts of violence against women.

Harry // Posted 19 May 2009 at 7:00 am

“The dept. responsible for this consultation…”

The dept?! If only this work was taken so seriously.

In reality Boris has allocated a single member of staff to take this work forward.

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