Boris caught by the wheel, questioned on Rape Crisis funding

// 20 July 2009

boris.jpgThe-sauce has a report from today’s protest outside City Hall, calling for London mayor Boris Johnson to keep his election pledge to fully fund three additional rape crisis centres and continue funding the capital’s only existing centre.

Clare Solomon, a former co-president at SOAS university students union trapped Boris’ front bicycle wheel as he tried to sneak out of a back entrance to the Greater London Assembly offices at City Hall.

She told the-sauce.org: “We were really pleased we got the chance to question him face to face about funding for rape crisis centres.

“However, he continued to bluster and wobble all over the place and would not give firm assurances about how much funding would come through and when. This will be a huge disappointment to thousands of women who really need support.”

Comments From You

Jennifer Drew // Posted 20 July 2009 at 4:32 pm

Thanks Fword for swiftly publicising what Boris Johnson said when he was ‘waylaid’ by a contingent of feminists determined to receive some answers. Mr. Johnson clearly showed by his answers that he has no intention whatsoever of keeping his ’empty pre-election promise’ to implement and provide adequate, sustained long-term funding for four Rape Crisis Centres in London. I say four because the only rape crisis centre is currently in dire financial straits and how it continues to function is almost a miracle, given the endemic lack of interest shown by the government and many MPs.

I had the ‘pleasure’ of attending this protest action and seeing for myself just how Mr. Johnson attempted to ‘weasel’ out of giving a direct reply to Clare Solomon’s dignified and clear questions concerning funding rape crisis centres.

Note to Mr. Johnson – this issue will not go away either in the short-term or long-term because we are determined to hold you accountable for your empty promises to the women living in Greater London.

HarpyMarx // Posted 20 July 2009 at 6:48 pm

I was there as well (written a report on my own blog http://harpymarx.wordpress.com/2009/07/20/crisis-in-rape-crisis-boris-gets-blocked/).

Great day, especially blocking buffoon Boris on his bike. He blustered about funding 3 Rape Crisis Centres but didn’t give a time scale nor where the money would come from. Though as he was about to ride away he said, ‘Well I am better than the previous guy’! Or words to that effect….

KJB // Posted 21 July 2009 at 6:41 pm

I was there, but got a bit late because I got lost :-(. I was also pretty shy when I got there! Shame there weren’t more people, really.

Passerby // Posted 23 July 2009 at 2:51 pm

How sad that young women students are still gullible to manipulation by lefty men.

Rape Crisis centres are far too an important issue to become a party political football.

The facts are that a Labour (woman) led London authority cut the funding to London Rape Crisis since when there has only been one centre in London. However Croydon was a direct beneficiary of the cut to London RCC (no doubt their connections to a Labour Councillor helped theri lobbying to get the money transferred to them, especially as Labour was antagonised by the spoken Black led London RCC not cowtowing to them).

If Croydon is short of money then questions need to be asked of their local council and of London Councils who have somehow managed to fritter away their 3 year grants for rape and sexual abuse to their token feminist organisation Eaves (actually a HA which obediently follows Labour’s funding cuts to accessible housing which helps contribute to women’s lack of safety) and just has a few “women’s projects” as politically okay fronts.

A broken election policy of 1/4 ie 3 centres are promised are in fact 3 times anything Ken even talked about let alone did, ie he supported Labour’s preference to SARCs over autonomous women led RCCs. Ken and Anji’s last meeting on this suitably chaired by arch Labour daddy’s girl Eaves CE (you don’t get a gong for going against Labour policies) whilst the Chair and Information Worker for Rape Crisis federation sat in the hall.

Let alone the crass lack of respect shown by these air head protestors who used the Rape Crisis logo without permission and against a direct request not to use it.

What a shame that young women students are more focused on photo opportunities than doing the real work of lobbying for a national policy on funding Rape Crisis Centres.

How typical of 3rd Wave feminism that they think it is all about empty symbolism.

Who needs enemies with “friends like this”.

If the F word ever going to grow up?

Beth Evans // Posted 28 July 2009 at 2:50 pm

Passerby –

I find it sickening that you are making this issue about party politics. This is about securing adequate support for rape victims.

The facts are that Mayor Johnson’s election manifesto promised £744,000 per year (£2.2m over 3 years) to set up three Rape Crisis centres in London and to maintain the only current Rape Crisis centre in London (Croydon). This figure has somehow shrunk to £450,000 per year (£1.4m over 3 years). This is unacceptable.

Mind the Gap is not affiliated to ANY union or political party. We do not have a pro Labour Party agenda.

If you’d have cared to take a look at our blog you would see that we are involved in lobbying for government funding for the Rape Crisis network – I wrote to my (Labour) MP demanding why he hadn’t signed Jim Cunningham’s EDM – http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=38782&SESSION=899. I’m happy to say that he has now added his signature. I reserve the right to criticise the fact that only one Conservative MP has signed so far. We also support the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the End Violence Against Women coalition’s campaign – http://www.mapofgaps.org/?re-enter=1

Further;

1. Your patronising (and sexist) opening sentence is false – not all of us are young, not all of us are female and NONE of us are being manipulated by ‘lefty’ men.

2. Rape Crisis have never requested that we remove their logo.

3. I object to your criticism of 3rd Wave feminism as ’empty symbolism’ – catch up!

4. We are not interested in ‘photo opportunities’ and none of us are ‘air heads’.

Laura // Posted 28 July 2009 at 6:08 pm

Passerby: The rape crisis campaign that London Student Feminists are engaging in is not just about Croydon, it is certainly not just about Boris and, as Beth mentions above, it has no party political affiliation.

You are of course right to point out that women have been failed by successive local and national governments. We have been urging people to respond to the local and national consultations on violence against women and lobby their MPs on the issue of national funding.

To address your point about the logo: the rape crisis logo was initially on the flyer as an indication of the existence rape crisis network. As far as I am aware no-one from Rape Crisis England and Wales spoke to us directly and asked us to remove it. However, after I spoke with a representative from WRC, they suggested we remove it – which we immediately did from the flyer on our blog and events page. The bulk of the flyering we conducted for the event occurred after we removed the logo.

Political campaigning can be done in a number of different ways – including by researching and writing reports and resources, by engaging in consultation processes (as we have also done), by writing to local and national representatives, by using legal action, as the Equality and Human Rights Commission has the power to do, and by taking part in direct action to raise awareness.

I don’t think that these forms of campaigning are mutually exclusive – I think that they can compliment each other to keep the pressure on, as we are all working towards the same goal – provision of sexual violence services for women.

Do you work for Rape Crisis England and Wales? It is not clear from your post. If you have suggestions about the way we conduct the campaign, including campaigning on it as a national issue (involving students across the country) then perhaps we could meet and discuss it?

The intention of our direct action is to build on the many different kinds of campaigns going on about the need for sustainable funding for rape crisis centres. It is certainly not about engaging in any kind of political football.

Passerby // Posted 4 August 2009 at 12:55 pm

re mis use of RC logo

I don’t work for Rape Crisis, but I would have thought anyone who presumed to decide how to ‘campaign’ for rape crisis would as a first point of call contacted them. And anyone who is active in front line organisation is well aware of the disrespect you have shown in your actions.

Why WRC is getting involved is a complete mystery – they should of course have referred you to Rape Crisis.

However, by you own admission you make plain that you did mis-use their logo.

If you were in touch with the organisation who actually do the work, as opposed to latching onto a topic to please yourself you would be aware of the difference in attitude between the current administration (hard as it might be to swallow) who have been more pro active in including rape as an issue in their VAW campaign the the previous (Labour) administration.

Cmapaing aren’t about what makes you feel good about yourself, but about the reality.

The reality is that under the present Government (Labour) many rape crisis centres have closed or existed in stop start funding year by year.

If you committment is to rape crisis centres then you would be putting your energies into a national campaign that made sure the Government (irrespective of which party) puts in place a national strategy to ensure a continuous and expanding network of rape crisis centres.

Get you facts right before running around like a bull in a china shop.

And please – before you start someother photo opportunity campaign – make sure that those you say you are campaigning for actually want you to make the statements you are making.

PS re 3rd wave feminism – see Third Wave Feminism – Drowning in the Shallow End http://womensphere.wordpress.com/2009/08/03/third-wave-feminism-%E2%80%93-drowning-in-the-shallow-end-comment-from-usa/

Anna // Posted 4 August 2009 at 5:29 pm

‘Rape Crisis centres are far too an important issue to become a party political football.

The facts are that a Labour (woman)’

Umm…?

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