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. 

JH