Monday, 20 June 2016

Ched Evans Must Have A Fair Trial.

Ched Evans is awaiting trial for rape.

It is important that nothing prejudices that trial. This will include comment on social media.

At the time of the last feminist action on this issue Evans was, according to the UK criminal justice system, a convicted criminal. The main focus of that action was not on the individual, Evans, but on the inappropriate employment of any footballer who had been convicted of the heinous crime of rape. That was heavily discussed at the time. It does not need to be revisited here as the circumstances around Evans have changed.

That conviction was quashed and Evans is now awaiting retrial for rape. It is very important that the trial proceeds in a fair manner and any allowable new evidence is presented and treated accordingly by defence lawyers for the CPS. I hope that it will be robustly challenged and I am sure that it will be.

The key contentious issue remains in that the relevant governing bodies in football, the FA and the PFA, are unwilling to issue employment guidelines for footballers who commit acts of sexual violence. It should be clearly established by those governing bodies that any player accused of an act of such a serious nature should be suspended pending trial. This would be usual in many other employment contracts and in most other employment areas. Football is not unique.

Chesterfield FC need guidelines from those governing bodies. Their moral compass and pursuit of goals and profit, clearly does not allow them to make a sensible judgement on this and their current action in pursuing a contract of employment, with a player accused of a serious sexual offence, is morally repugnant. I hope that the majority of decent fans of the club will communicate their dissatisfaction with that appointment.

I call upon the FA and PFA to act swiftly to rectify their inaction on this matter, as it is clear that this is an issue which continues to be problematic. The Adam Johnson case was similarly murky regarding his continued employment and Sunderland had very unclear guidelines and subsequently made poor decisions. It is obvious from the current comment on social media that the views of many young men are being formed by this particular employment contract, provided to Ched Evans by Chesterfield FC, and those views are deeply unpleasant, at best, regarding women and girls.

I call upon the FA and PFA to work quickly to establish employment guidelines for their teams of employers, so that this kind of situation does not arise again. I would hope that pressure from the governing bodies would enable Chesterfield FC and other clubs to realise that a trial for rape is a grave matter. Their endorsement of the accused will have a profound effect on the views of our young men and women. If they are in any doubt about that I would refer them to the following.....

Or pay attention to the hashtag here......

There are worse examples. They will keep rolling in. Views will continue to be formed on this until the body that should take charge stops avoiding the issue and does their job. 

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Jo Cox MP was a woman. A brave woman.

Jo Cox was shot and stabbed yesterday. In the street. She screamed as she was murdered and fell between parked cars and lay dying on the floor between them.

It seems that a man deliberately went to where he knew she would be and drew a gun and kept firing it until he had put 3 bullets into her. He then stabbed her. He then kicked her. Neighbours had seen him calmly walk past half an hour earlier carrying a bag. He remained calm as he walked away slightly after shooting her and attempted to reload his gun. He was determined enough to stab a 77 year old man who tried to stop him. He was determined to kill her.

This is brutal and extreme violence. By a man. Against a woman. 

It is not wrong to say these things. It is impossible to react in any way other than with shock and sadness and confusion and anger when a woman's life is stolen from her and her children and her loved ones. 

I am deeply sorry for the family and friends of Jo Cox. I don't know how they will survive and endure this horrific time but I hope that they draw strength from the work that she achieved and the woman she was in their lives. They were lucky to have had her with them, for however brief a time. 

Yesterday it also became clear that a woman and her daughter were murdered in Liverpool. By the woman's ex-partner who also killed her pet dog. This was clear to feminists as soon as the deaths were reported. It is always clear. We wait with sad knowledge for the words "blow to the head", "blunt force trauma", "thought to be known to the woman". 

If women voice our knowledge of these things before the police confirm it then we are "pushing an agenda". We "don't know that!" 

Well. We do. We do. We know why the women are killed and we simply wait in sadness for details of the man to be revealed. The man that is frequently removed from the headline. The man who hated women. 

Women are frequently told to shut up. Shut up about male violence against women. 

Yesterday whilst sad and reeling and shocked I posted tweets with the hashtag #MaleViolence. I said that a man had shot a woman. The woman was Jo Cox. The man was Thomas Mair. 

I was told- by a man -"How dare you? HOW DARE YOU?" for stating that this was male violence. I was told by other men that I was vile for "political point scoring". I was accused of "victim-claiming". I was told that Jo Cox's death had NOTHING to do with the fact that she was a woman. I was asked if I would prefer it if a woman had killed her. I was told that feminists had no right to talk about #MaleViolence at a time like this. A time when a man had murdered a woman. 

 I was told that I am scum for mentioning the fact that Jo Cox was a woman. 

A man shot a woman in the street. A woman is dead and a man killed her. 

I was told that it was because of her politics. Left wing politics. Undoubtedly that is so. 

A man shot a woman in the street. A woman is dead and a man killed her. 

I was told that it was because she was a human. Not a woman.

A man shot a woman in the street. A woman is dead and a man killed her. 

I was told that it was because Jo Cox spoke out about the Remain campaign. Probably that is partly so.

A man shot a woman in the street. A woman is dead and a man killed her. 

I was told that it is because the man was mentally ill. 

A man shot a woman in the street. A woman is dead and a man killed her. 

I was told that it is disrespectful to talk of feminism at a time like this. 

A man shot a woman in the street. A woman is dead and a man killed her. 

It is not with any disrespect to Jo Cox that I write. Women throughout this nation and across the globe are a target of men who hate them every day. Jo Cox knew this and backed campaigns to end male violence against women and girls. She stood up to racism. She stood up to misogyny. She fought for her country to be free of bigotry. She was brave and she was principled. She sometimes questioned her own politics. She very recently questioned the strategy of her own Party leader and was heavily criticised for it. I said at the time that she was brave and right to do so. Men told her to shut up. They were fairly vile about it. She stood by her statements. She was courageous. 

Jo Cox was killed because a man wanted to kill her. He wanted to stop her speaking out. He wanted to stop her standing up for her beliefs. He wanted her to shut up. It really doesn't matter that he did the gardening for his mother. It doesn't matter that his ex girlfriend left him for a friend. It doesn't matter that he was "quiet".

He quietly plotted to kill a tiny, brave, principled woman.  He quietly walked to where she was with a gun he had somehow obtained or fashioned and he quietly murdered her. He was determined. She was his target. He achieved his aim. 

A man shot a woman in the street. A woman is dead and a man killed her and feminists will never accept that this is anything other than male violence because once you have seen this, you cannot "unsee" it. No matter how many men tell you it isn't so. 

So I will be angry and sad and confused today. I will keep drawing back a sob at the thought of Jo Cox's poor poor children and heartbroken husband. I will mourn the loss of a great politician along with the rest of the nation. 

But I will not pretend that Jo Cox wasn't a woman.