Women's News from the Web

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Updated: 7 hours 21 min ago

Domestic abuse, refuges, rape charges...why do we get it wrong on male violence? | Sonia Sodha

Sat, 03/13/2021 - 21:45
Sarah Everard’s death has forced us to reflect on how much we fail victims. And we have hardly begun to think about educating boys

The first time I felt that chill go down my spine was when I was 13 and a policewoman was giving a group of us girls a talk at school on how to keep safe. I remember her telling us what to watch for, what techniques to use, including the old carrying your keys in your hand trick, but the thing that stuck with me, above all else, was what she said about being put into a car. “Once he moves you, it’s very, very bad.” We didn’t have to ask what that meant.

That chill quickly becomes familiar for women. You feel it when walking alone at night, when a man sits near you in a quiet, late-night train carriage. But you feel it most painfully of all when reading about the killings of women such as Sarah Everard, Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman. Every woman lives with the knowledge it could have been her.

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Police clash with mourners at Sarah Everard vigil in London

Sat, 03/13/2021 - 13:53

Unofficial event on Clapham Common marred by at least one arrest and confrontations with officers

The evening in south London began in grief and silence, as hundreds gathered to remember Sarah Everard and call for changes that will keep others safe. It ended in anger and violence, as police trampled flowers and candles laid out in tribute to Everard and tried to silence women speaking out in her memory.

Tensions were high before the vigil, which had officially been cancelled after the Metropolitan police refused to give the organisers a permit. That compounded anger at the force, already high after a serving officer was charged with Everard’s kidnap and murder.

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Met police criticised for 'deeply disturbing' handling of Clapham Common vigil - as it happened

Sat, 03/13/2021 - 13:38

Despite ban on gathering, crowds clashed with police while elsewhere Reclaim These Streets held virtual events and doorstep vigils

11.10pm GMT

10.41pm GMT

Here are some more images from the vigil at Clapham Common this evening, for which the Metropolitan Police are under fire.

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There's an outpouring of rage about gendered violence. Women have had enough

Sat, 03/13/2021 - 09:00

The reality of women’s lives is that they are surrounded by sexual violence. Lawmakers must act to make women safe

On a Sunday afternoon less than two weeks ago I put out an angry tweet asking women to join me and protest at Parliament House. I was angry at the Morrison government’s handling of the Brittany Higgins allegations, and then about the allegations Christian Porter has denied. I was angry reading the gut wrenching stories of the horrific sexual violence in schools.

This anger was the start of an Australian outpouring of rage.

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Duchess of Cambridge pays respects to Sarah Everard in London – video

Sat, 03/13/2021 - 08:13

The Duchess of Cambridge has been filmed looking at notes and flowers left for Sarah Everard in London.

Organisers of Reclaim These Streets planned to hold a demonstration on Clapham Common on Saturday, near to where the 33-year-old, whose body was formally identified on Friday, went missing. 

But organisers said that despite their attempts to work with police to make sure the vigil could go ahead safely, they now felt that it could not

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Angry at the idea of a curfew for men? Think of all the ways women are told to adapt

Sat, 03/13/2021 - 04:00

Policing, both formal and informal, of female bodies is so normalized it’s no longer shocking – unless the same standards are applied to men

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A woman's life doesn't end at 40 – so why does society make us feel that way? | Eleanor Mills

Fri, 03/12/2021 - 23:00

My generation broke down barriers and succeeded on our own terms. Now we refuse to fade politely into the background

This time last year I had a bit of a crisis. I left the company where I’d worked for over 23 years, my eldest applied for uni and the prospect of an empty nest loomed – and then I got Covid. I spent two weeks in bed and emerged weak and depleted. It was lockdown. I went for a walk with a friend. “How are you?” she said. I tried to say I was “fine”– I’m known for my cheeriness – but the word stuck in my throat. I started to cry and couldn’t stop.

The tears flowed, I hiccupped with snot and sadness. I explained I felt like I’d been pushed off a roof and was in freefall. That the scaffolding of my life had gone: the status of my job, my role as mum, my vitality, my youth (I’d just turned 50). I felt raw, washed up, sad, pathetic. She fed me Pimm’s from a tin and offered solace, sympathy and terrible jokes. “Change is difficult,” she said. That hit me in the heart. It allowed me to find things tough, to not be coping, to admit to myself I was in trouble.

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It is men, not women, who are responsible for male violence | Letter

Fri, 03/12/2021 - 06:33

While we teach women to adapt their lives to keep safe, there is little work being done to educate men against chauvinistic attitudes or aggressions that make so many environments hostile for women, writes Emma Burke

The outpouring on social media about the appalling case of Sarah Everard, from women across the country, reflects that in each of our minds this violence could have happened to our sister, our daughter, our colleague or our friend (‘Always with keys out’: hundreds of women tell of fear of walking alone, 11 March).

We have spent years being taught what we, as women, should do to keep ourselves safe. As 12-year-olds at an all-girls’ secondary school, we were given a specific lesson in how to avoid attack. We were taught to carry a key poking out of our fists as we walk, to sit near the bus driver, to choose brightly lit streets. We were each given a rape alarm. My brothers attended the equivalent boys’ school. There was no equivalent lesson.

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El Salvador abortion laws on trial in case of woman jailed after miscarriage

Thu, 03/11/2021 - 21:15

Demands for justice for Manuela, who died of cancer during 30-year sentence, taken to international court in country first

When Manuela, a 33-year-old mother of two from rural El Salvador, had a miscarriage in 2008, she did what most women would do: she went to hospital.

There she was handcuffed to her hospital bed, accused of having an abortion, and charged with aggravated homicide.

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'Enough is enough!' Where, when and why March4Justice protests are taking place across Australia

Thu, 03/11/2021 - 19:06

Rallies against gender discrimination and violence will take place on 14 and 15 March – here are the details attendees need to know

Across Australia, survivors and their allies will be calling for gender equality, and justice for victims of sexual assault, through a series of protests under the banner March4Justice.

Related: The March4Justice women who are raring to rally: 'A time of reckoning for Australia'

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Boris Johnson comes under pressure to make UK safer for women

Thu, 03/11/2021 - 10:29

Discovery of remains in search for Sarah Everard causes outpouring of anger as female MPs calls for tougher action

Boris Johnson came under concerted pressure to take action to tackle male violence and misogyny and make the UK safer for women, as the discovery of human remains in the search for Sarah Everard caused an outpouring of anger.

The inquiry into the disappearance of the 33-year-old marketing executive added poignancy to the annual International Women’s Day debate in the House of Commons as dozens of female MPs told moving and angry stories of the harassment they had been subjected to.

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Endemic violence against women is causing a wave of anger

Thu, 03/11/2021 - 09:43

Analysis: Sarah Everard’s disappearance sparks furious demands to address misogyny in UK

Women feared this was coming. They waited, messaging each other in WhatsApp groups and on social media. They talked about their own attempts to stay safe, discussed their near misses.

When the news came on Wednesday evening – that police investigating the disappearance of Sarah Everard had found the remains of a body – a wave of grief crashed over them, followed quickly by anger.

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The Guardian view on violence against women: without safety, there can be no equality | Editorial

Thu, 03/11/2021 - 08:30

The welling anger and frustration voiced online this week reflect the persistence of harassment and assault

The last day or so has seen an outpouring of grief and anger over the disappearance of Sarah Everard, who vanished last week as she walked home in Clapham, south London. A serving Metropolitan police officer has now been arrested on suspicion of her kidnapping and murder. Cressida Dick, the Met commissioner, told reporters: “It is thankfully incredibly rare for a woman to be abducted from our streets. I completely understand that despite this, women in London and the wider public – particularly those in the area where Sarah went missing – will be worried and may well be feeling scared.”

As her remarks suggest, the case has sparked a potent reaction. For many women, it has tapped into far broader concerns about the abuse and violence they face. Six women and a little girl have been reported as killed since Sarah Everard went missing, noted Jess Phillips, Labour’s shadow minister for domestic violence. Harassment and assault by men are anything but rare. It is more than 40 years since the first Reclaim the Night march, which was prompted by the Yorkshire Ripper murders and the police response, telling women to stay at home after dark. Now a Reclaim These Streets vigil is to be held in Clapham on Saturday. Women are exhausted. The frustration and rage vented on social media and in parliament is the product of a society where it is normal for women to live in fear.

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This week has shown us how far feminism still has to go | Gaby Hinsliff

Thu, 03/11/2021 - 08:13

International Women’s Day has coincided with a terrible reminder of our vulnerability

Sometimes you don’t forget a face. And all this week, it has been Sarah Everard’s. When she went missing, any woman who has ever walked home alone at night felt that grim, instinctive sense of recognition. Footsteps on a dark street. Keys gripped between your fingers. There but for the grace of God. She was a perfect stranger, someone I have never met nor had any connection with. But half the women I knew were sharing her image on social media feeds, willing her to make it home. Even though we know that home is where women are statistically most at risk.

Women who vanish stick in our heads precisely because they are rare. It’s men who are more likely to be killed in public places, invariably by other men; meanwhile two women a week die at the hands of their own partners on average, and mostly nobody hears their names. The Labour MP Jess Phillips, who reads those names out in parliament every year, said on Thursday that by her count, six women and a little girl had been murdered in the days since Sarah Everard had vanished. That doesn’t make one form of violence against women any more or less shocking than another. It just means that misogyny takes many forms; and that our primal fear of it bleeds into everything. It turns what may sometimes seem to men relatively trivial street encounters into something darker. It’s why we’re instinctively frightened of feeling trapped, dependent, with no way out.

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For women to feel safe in public spaces, men's behaviour has to change | Rachel Hewitt

Thu, 03/11/2021 - 05:10

Sarah Everard’s disappearance has crystallised the fears that many women experience as a background hum

The disappearance of Sarah Everard while she walked through Clapham, south London, at 9pm on 3 March gives horrific shape to the hum of fear that women constantly feel in public spaces. My social media timelines are full of women who are distressed by Sarah’s disappearance, and terrified that it could have been them. Men have asked what they can do to help women feel safer. But what’s needed beyond the education of individuals are urgent political solutions to counter men’s attempts to claim public spaces as their exclusive domain.

The fear that we feel in public places is so common that many women consider it a fact of life. A recent survey for UN Women UK found that 80% of women of all ages in the UK said they had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces, of which men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators. While out running, I’ve been chased by men, and it’s rare that a week passes without random male passersby shouting derogatory comments or making noises at me. The joy I find in running is diminished by fear.

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Tell us: how does it feel to be alone in a public space at night?

Thu, 03/11/2021 - 02:08

We would like to hear from women on how they feel on their own at night, and the steps they take to feel safer

Women often feel unsafe when they are on their own in a public space at night, with many on social media sharing their experiences of what it’s like to feel scared.

The Guardian is interested in finding out more about how women of all ages feel in public spaces when alone at night and what the steps women take to feel safer.

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I'm struggling to talk to friends in lockdown. Being alone has been a relief | Naoise Dolan

Wed, 03/10/2021 - 22:00

I am autistic, and it does not take a lot to overwhelm me. This has been a terrible year, but socialising is stressful, writes the Women’s prize-nominated author

I haven’t socialised with anyone in six months and it is entirely my fault. I live in London and have friends within walking distance. There are many more elsewhere who I owe a Zoom. Dozens of people have messaged and I’ve been too anxious to reply; I just hope they’re thinking that I’m doing my best. As a result of my own decisions, I have not said a word aloud to someone who is not my colleague, family member or flatmate since September. And I’ve thrown up on the latter, so he’s basically family, too.

Is this some bogus monastic sacrifice? Am I resistance-training for all possible levels of a future lockdown? No, I’m just autistic, and it does not take a lot to overwhelm me.

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First trans woman makes Women's prize longlist, alongside Dawn French and Ali Smith

Wed, 03/10/2021 - 08:00

Torrey Peters among 16 finalists, with chair of judges Bernardine Evaristo lamenting lack of older writers

A trans woman has been nominated for the Women’s prize for fiction for the first time, with Torrey Peters making the longlist for the £30,000 award for her acclaimed debut Detransition, Baby.

Reviewed in the Guardian as “witty, elegant and rigorously plotted”, Detransition, Baby follows trans woman Reese, her former partner Amy, now Ames, who has detransitioned, and cis woman Katrina, with whom Ames has been having an affair, and who is now pregnant. Prize judge Elizabeth Day described it as “a modern comedy of manners”.

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To protect women from violence today, we must secure justice for victims in the past | FW de Klerk

Wed, 03/10/2021 - 01:14

South Africa’s former president during apartheid calls for the pandemic to be a turning point in strengthening the rule of law and empowering survivors

Violence and sexual assault have surged across the globe since the onset of Covid-19, in what the UN has called a “shadow pandemic”. Even before the pandemic, one in three women experienced physical or sexual assault globally, the World Health Organization reported this week.

In Africa, the impact has been particularly acute. In the first half of 2020, a rise in reported cases prompted Liberia’s President Weah to declare rape and all forms of gender-based violence a national emergency.

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Makeup isn't frivolous – it allows us to rebuild ourselves | Deborah Frances-White

Tue, 03/09/2021 - 21:00

We’ve been conditioned to think feminine expressions of gender diminish women’s authority, but remaking our own image is powerful

I don’t understand why the patriarchy let women have makeup. It took most of the good stuff; why would it let us have the sparkle? Actually, everyone used to wear makeup (powder, beauty spots and wigs) but it went out of fashion because Queen Victoria thought it vulgar. When she was off mourning Albert in Balmoral, a few brave women whispered, “If she’s not coming back, shall we crack out the rouge?” but the men never bothered. Now most men have to wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and think, “Well, that’s as good as I’m going to look all day.”

With makeup, you can conceal, reveal, accentuate and play. The game I play at the opening of my podcast, The Guilty Feminist, is called “I’m a feminist but …” It’s like feminist confessional – a playful admission of where our actions and values don’t meet: “I’m a feminist but if I saw Priti Patel leaving a public loo with her dress tucked into her knickers, I wouldn’t tell her.” Sometimes makeup gets put into the frivolous category by feminists guesting on the show: “I’m a feminist but if I had to give away all my Virginia Woolf books or my liquid eyeliner for ever, I’d really miss Mrs Dalloway.” We’ve all been socially conditioned to think feminine expressions of gender diminish women’s authority a little and put us in a submissive or sexually objectified role.

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