New refuge for domestic abuse victims in Glasgow

// 24 July 2009

From (the excellent) Womensgrid news blog:

The £1.8m purpose built facility, run by Drumchapel Women’s Aid, offers secure accommodation for up to eight women and sixteen children at any one time.

The facility is part of the Scottish government’s £10m National Domestic Abuse Delivery Plan, a priority of which is to ensure women and children affected by domestic abuse are helped into safe and suitable accommodation.

It features a crèche and a play room for young children and a games room with the latest gadgets and games consoles for older children.

An outside playground, placed discreetly at the back of the building, will allow children to play, unseen.

Victims will be able to visit a ‘therapeutic room’ to receive counselling as well as complementary therapies and massage.

Specialist support services will help users find permanent homes.

Officially opening the facility, Minister for housing and communities Alex Neil said: “Domestic abuse must not be tolerated in any form.

“For these brave women – many with children – who pluck up the courage to leave abusive partners, it’s vitally important that effective support is available to help them rebuild their lives.

“This new facility provides a safe haven and is a home that I hope women and children will find comfortable living in while they get help to get back on their feet.”

http://www.publicservantscotland.co.uk/news_story.asp?id=10149

This is great news. and congrats to all the Scottish campaigners who have played some part in getting this in place.

As you may remember, it has been reported that one in four suspects held in custody in Glasgow are under investigation for domestic violence. Scottish Women’s Aid estimate that a domestic violence incident is recorded every 11 minutes in Scotland.

Also via Womensgrid, the BBC have reported that Scottish Women’s Aid have apparently rejected funds raised from a ‘naked calendar’ inspired by the famous Women’s Institute ‘calendar girls’. (Coincidentally this story comes up at the same time as we’ve just published Molly Lavendar’s feature on women in calendars)

The main key point I take from this is not whether Scottish Women’s Aid were right or wrong (that debate would probably go on until the end of time). It seems like a good idea for feminist organisations and groups to agree on their stance on what sort of activities they would accept funds from before the issue arises so that they can be clear to fundraisers upfront (for all I know, perhaps they did in this instance). Scottish Women’s Aid do really important work around violence against women and it would be a shame if this were to detract from that.

Comments From You

Jennifer Drew // Posted 24 July 2009 at 10:53 am

I applaud Scottish Women’s Aid for refusing to accept funds derived from a number of women who have posed naked for a calendar. Now before anyone claims I am blaming the women who removed their clothing I am not because the issue is more complicated.

My criticism is directed at the Sex Industry and media which together are earning huge profits in catering to the myth ‘ it is empowering for women to become men’s sexualised commodities.’ I do not see men in droves queueing up to be photographed naked in full frontal poses, neither have I yet seen any public images showing a man/men in sexually submissive poses. On the contrary the few, very images of totally naked men are always portrayed either as focusing on the fact ‘isn’t it funny removing my clothes’ or deliberately promoting the assertive, dominant masculine image. A man removing his clothes and hiding his sexual organs behind an object does not disrupt the fact he has more power and entitlement than a woman. The man does not become a sex object because his nakedness does not reinforce our male-dominant society’s view that men are ‘sex’ – rather it reinforces the fact men have sexual autonomy whereas women are simply ‘sexualised commodities’ who have little or no sexual autonomy or rights over their bodies. (The rape conviction remains appallingly low at 5.6% or 6% whilst over 94% men charged with rape continue to be acquitted).

The Sex Industry is solely concerned with representing women as men’s dehumanised sexualised commodities and an off-shoot of this is the now common perception it is ‘feminist’ to pose naked for charity. PETA have engaged in dehumanising women for supposedly charitable and humanitarian purposes but PETA have been subject to intense criticism and claims they are misogynistic.

On the one hand we have organisations such as Scottish Women’s Aid working tirelessly now for decades supporting women survivors of male violence and on the other hand we have the now routine representation of women posing in sexually titilating poses either naked or nearly naked. This is a contradiction and until such time as our society is ‘bombarded’ with images of men totally naked or nearly naked in sexually submissive poses, which would of course negatively impact on men’s rights to their sexual autonomy and protection of their bodies, the dominant view will continue to be ‘well a woman/women chose to pose in this way.’ A neat way of diverting attention away from how our male-centered and male-dominant society operates.

Scottish Women’s Aid have spoken out previously about the Sex Industry’s attempts to ‘normalise the dehumanisation of women.’ Last Monday a number of young feminist women protested against the latest round of Mis-ogyny Beauty Pageants which are taking place in Universities.

If these young feminist women understand the clever way male organisers and corporate sponsors including a Cosmetic Surgery company are deliberately trading on the tag-line ‘but it is empowering to women’ whilst simultaneously earning vast profits, then clearly there is something very wrong with the way women are still commonly portrayed and represented which benefits men but certainly not women as a group. Make no mistake the representation of women as ‘men’s sexualised dehumanised commodities affects all women and girls. More factual information on this issue can be viewed on http://www.object.org.uk

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