What does a successful policy on prostitution look like? The first and obvious answer is “nothing like what the UK is currently doing”. Although the sale and purchase of sex are both legal in the UK, related activities (such as soliciting, kerb crawling, or keeping a brothel) are criminalised. The Crown Prosecution Service includes prostitution within its “violence against women framework” – but despite this, since 2013, more women than men have been targeted under prostitution law.
Whichever side of the ideological lines you fall on when it comes to the sex industry, a system that punishes those it identifies as victims more than those it identifies as perpetrators can only be described as a terrible failure.
Read the full article at Little Atoms
For one week in July 2010, the aspiring spree killer Raoul Moat was the only news. ‘Aspiring’ because he didn’t actually achieve his violent ambitions: by the time he died, he’d only managed to shoot three people (four if you include himself) and murder one (two if you count PC David Rathband, who was blinded by Moat and killed himself four years later).
Read the full review at the Spectator
Let’s call it the Thatcher Problem. Women with power make a lot of people very uncomfortable, because power is essentially anti-feminine. The echo of John Knox’s warning against a “monstrous regiment” of unsubjugated women has never really gone away. A woman in power has to prove she’s womanly enough to be acceptable, but not so womanish that she can’t do the job. And up pops the answer: Margaret Thatcher with headscarf neatly tied, head poking out of a tank: impressively martial, but always ladylike.
It’s easier – a bit – for women in politics now. You no longer have to burnish your gender credentials by showing off your ironing board. You can leave your handbag at home. Trousers are tolerable. Women now make up 29% of all MPs in Westminster, in what is shamefully an all-time high. Shameful, because there are still more male MPs currently sitting than there have been female MPs in the whole history of parliament.
Read the full post at the New Statesman
Daria Pionko was supposed to be safe. Or safer, anyway. That, at least, was part of the thinking behind the “managed prostitution area” established in the Holbeck area of Leeds in June 2014 and officially announced the following October. It was also a tidying-up exercise, in response to locals’ concerns about living alongside street prostitution. By suspending the laws on kerb-crawling and soliciting between seven at night and seven in the morning in one non-residential part of town, Leeds City Council hoped to draw all the city’s outdoor prostitution to one unobtrusive place.
Read the full post at the New Statesman
Imagine being on a night out with your friends. You’re in a public place you’ve been to hundreds of times before and feel safe in. But the night takes a dark turn as the revelry you’re used to turns to assault. And it’s not at the hands of just one person: instead you’re surrounded by 1,000 men targeting women, pickpocketing and abusing them. Then imagine the official response to this was to suggest, somehow, that you, the women present, could have prevented it by behaving differently.
Read the full article in this week’s issue of Grazia
There’s no doubting Camille Cosby’s loyalty to her husband, Bill, who has now been charged with three cases of sexual assault. She’s been consistent in defending him across decades of allegations and against dozens of women, all of whom have described identical assaults: drugged, raped, disbelieved, disgraced. “None of us will ever want to be in the position of attacking a victim,” said Camille in a statement to CBS in 2014. “But the question should be asked: who is the victim?”
Read the full post at the Pool
Last night, I took part in a Newsnight debate with trans activist CN Lester on Maria Miller’s report into trans rights – and how its findings could affect women. You can watch the discussion above, or watch the full episode on iPlayer while it’s available.