Vawg: let’s have the conversation

From bicycles to tube-stations, housing to IQ, Boris Johnson attracts a lot of attention.  I remain mindful of the range of opinion surrounding his decisions as Mayor, in particular the cuts affecting Fire Brigade Union & RMT members.  As a woman who has experienced violence, I certainly feel safer using transport after dark when I know the stations will be staffed.  

However, I also believe in giving credit where it’s due, and today, there can be no doubt Boris also showed that he is willing to pay attention. Prior to a formal announcement of the GLA’s new strategy on Violence Against Women and Girls he visited the Solace Rape Crisis Centre in North London to view the premises, to talk to staff, and – crucially – to talk to two rape survivors. Privately, away from the cameras.

I was one of them. We talked of our personal experience of Solace and the need for increased provision of such specialist services. We discussed the urgent need for housing provision for those fleeing Intimate Partner Violence. And how, without that provision, women cannot escape from rape or highly insidious coercive control.

One of the key concerns the Mayor expressed is that whilst crime reporting in London generally is going down, in two areas it’s on the rise. One is violence against women and girls. Why might that be? An increasing preparedness to report instances because people have been emboldened by the publicity given to the Saville case and others like it?

Or because people have had no choice but to report abuse, and to seek help, because reportage has been so omnipresent that they have daily had to face reminders of experiences which they had until now succeeded in locking away?

One message came out loud and clear: silence is not an option. The meeting which followed at City Hall emphasised this, strongly. The more we bring VAWG out into the open, the more the subject is aired and discussed, the more chance we have of reversing this dysfunctional phenomenon, and providing survivors with the help and support they need.

Oh, and the other area in which reported crime is rising? Theft of iPhones. A problem which has a far simpler answer: trade it in and buy yourself a second-hand Nokia 3310.

facebook_icon.gif twitter_icon.gif linked_in.gif 0 Notes November 29
#BorisJohnson, #carolinemurphy, #crime, #LGBT, #rape, #sexualviolence, #VAWG