The tragic and horrific murder of Sophie Lancaster has been in the news again today because the constabulary responsible for investigating the crime (Greater Manchester Police) have added subcultures such as emos, punks and goths to the list of groups affected by hate crimes. This I have no problem with. What I do have an issue with is the list of current hate crimes.
From the article, Lord MacDonald said "People's racial origins, their religion, their sexual orientation, people's dignity in the face of disability - these have been lines in the sand with the law saying, look, these are crimes that threaten social cohesion as a whole and therefore national life." Again I have no problem with this statement, as it is, and have no doubt of its veracity.
He then went on to say "I'm a little cautious about watering down this concept." Clearly he is so worried about watering down this concept he hasn't even considered that crimes against your sex would "threaten social cohesion as a whole and therefore national life." That is crimes against over 50% of the population. The implication by omission that crimes against women doesn't threaten social cohesion (whatever that may mean) is a complete denial of what women experience every single day. Just look at sites such as Everyday Sexism or Hollaback! to see how social cohesion is being disrupted on a daily basis for women everywhere.
So what are the many thousands of rapes reported as? What about the sexual assaults, the domestic abuse/violence, FGM (although no-one has actually been convicted for that in the UK), honour killings, serial killings against women? What are they all counted as? All those crimes are perpetrated against women just because they are women. Why are these crimes not being counted as hate crimes, they surely fit the definition?
Well the reason probably lies in the results if they were counted as hate crimes. It would bust the myth in cloud cuckoo land that women are being treated equally and would highlight that in fact we are still oppressed. The overwhelming problem of male violence against women would then become massively apparent and something would have to be done about it. In addition patterns which are currently denied would also become apparent. Patterns such as controlling and abusive behaviour and how this manifests itself throughout a range of crimes and behaviours. There is also a reluctance to name male violence for what it is. By not including crimes against women, such as rape, as hate crimes then the perpetrators of hate crimes can be hidden behind vaguer language such as "people", "groups" etc. But hate crimes against women could really only be down to the opposite sex i.e. men.
This reluctance to name and see male violence as the problem ties in with the truly desperate and awful deaths of the six children, Jade, John, Jack, Jesse, Jayden, and Duwayne, killed by their father Mick Philpott. His previous behaviour seemed to offer no red flags to social workers. No pattern has been identified in the media or in the courts with other family annihilators even though the similarities are there. The Tories would rather put this down to child benefit than male violence. I mean, how much more sleight of hand, misdirection and just basic lies do we have to put up with?
I don't know if Sophie's death was as a result of being a woman or a goth or a combination of both but really lets call a spade a fucking spade. Sophie, Jade, John, Jack, Jesse, Jayden and Duwayne all died at the hands of men. That is the problem. How many thousands of other victims do there have to be before this is dealt with head-on?