I’m sick of living in a culture that tolerates violence against women by Joan Smith
It’s always there, isn’t it? Most of us don’t like it, but what can we actually do about gender-based violence? Sure, the figures are terrible – violent crimes against women in England and Wales reached record levels last year – but they’ve been going up for ages. Rape and domestic violence are the new poor, always with us no matter how much we wish it were otherwise.
If that sounds cynical, it’s because I’m sick of a glaring disconnect at the heart of our culture. The criminal justice system is struggling to cope with the number of women coming forward with terrible stories of rape, beatings and – a relatively new one, this – online forms of abuse such as revenge porn.
The annual report of the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, told exactly this story when it was published earlier this week. Offences against women, including domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault, rose by almost 10% in 2015-16. Stalking prosecutions were up by 7.1%, child sex prosecutions by 15.4% and there were a record number (4,643) of rape prosecutions.
Cue a great deal of hand-wringing and a weary sense that perhaps violence against women, while regrettable, is inevitable. Just think of all the training, initiatives and public awareness work that’s been done in recent years, yet the picture just keeps on getting worse. Is there really anything that someone – police, prosecutors, legislators – hasn’t already thought of and tried? ...
This article by Joan Smith was first published in the Guardian on 6.9.16. You can find the full article here.
Inspired by our participation with the Write to End Violence Against Women awards organised by Zero Tolerance, we are now collecting examples of good journalism about domestic and sexual violence and abuse to make it clear that it is possible to write about DSVA without resorting to myths, misrepresentations, minimisation and victim blaming.
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