So is anyone going to slap the likes of Toby Young and Julia Hartley Brewer on the wrist for the violence they have incited against Symonds’ neighbours? Domestic abusers and apologists must have been chomping at the bit to teach them a lesson. Not forgetting the far right who took the Stasi bait. Always tell on perpetrators of gendered violence, it is your moral duty.
The mainstream media have focused on the political affiliations of Tom Penn and Eve Leigh (The Daily Express, The Sun etc) with every sentence they’ve spewed in outrage at the couple’s act of kindness and decency, they are culpable for the death threats that have pushed them out of their home. This is Britain, where they pretend to care about abuse but only if they can use it to make a racist point. Britain hates women, it hates people who would help women. It consistently confirms my prejudices against white men for their entitlement and toxic masculinity. They have the power to write narratives that betray the reality, meanwhile society slips further down the slope, impacting on all of our lives. I have witnessed this descent into hell, as we all have and just when we think it can’t possibly get any worse it has.
There must be repercussions for this, as there have been unjustly for Tom Penn and Eve Leigh. As a society we must stop punishing people for doing the right thing and rewarding the scheming cowards who know how to manipulate situations. I’m afraid there are more people than we know, who are willing to act the part and pretend to care about what is right and just than actually genuinely do. It only ever becomes a serious concern when they are personally targeted.
You’re in a relationship with a powerful man, so powerful he is in the running for prime minister. It was all a bit of a whirlwind, the foundations for your relationship are rocky, not least because of his track record as a womaniser. He left another woman to be with you. He left another woman to be with her. He might eventually do the same to you so you have to really go that extra mile to keep him interested. He might push you about a bit, but then men do don’t they? You’ve grown up in world where toxic masculinity thrives, where secrets and lies bind you together instead of pushing you apart.
The violence is escalating, he doesn’t care as much as he used to about keeping it under wraps. Who would believe you anyway? Your neighbours might even have recorded evidence of an alleged assault, a thing they were pushed to do because they feared for your life. Yet still, you can’t quite name the problem because the gravity of the situation is overwhelming, the whole world knows your name and regardless of the facts or evidence, people have already made up their minds. So you consider damage control, and stage a photo opportunity where you seem engrossed in each other and oblivious to the assessments people are making of your intimate relationship, a scene entirely reminiscent of another case of gendered domestic violence, whether purposely or inadvertently, which leads to people questioning the authenticity of a such a spectacle, so soon after the incident, which had resulted in a safe and well check by the police.
Imagine you are Carrie Symonds and the privileged world you live in turns on you. You’re the reason he might not become prime minister, if you had just listened or done what it is you were told, he’d still be in the running. The 1% maintain their power with a polished veneer we rarely see past. If we knew the truth, how domestic abuse is rampant in the upper classes, much like child sex abuse, the whole sorry facade of British stoicism and civility would dissipate, and Britain would be just as bad as those Asian and African nations it loves to point fingers at.
Having supported 100s of victims of domestic abuse, I can say for certain the one thing that made my job easier and that of other agencies involved in the process, was the goodwill and bravery of witnesses who came to the rescue. The likes of Toby Young and Telegraph and Spiked columnists shamelessly refer to these acts of kindness as somehow being akin to the Stasi, in their typically hysterical and duplicitous way. These fragile snowflakes who demanded that milkshake throwers face the full arm of the law rushed to minimise gendered domestic abuse because violence against women is just a feature of their developmentally stunted lives. Toby Young can jizz to his dead heart’s content over underage girls and promote eugenics, safe in the knowledge that nepotism will save his mediocre arse. Is that the sort of person we believe in this country?
Friends of Boris at The Torygraph have suggested that Carrie Symonds may have staged these photos after the incident. It’s more like Johnson gave her the telling to of her life and issued an ultimatum to fix it. She may well have called the photographer, and paid them, but he’s still pulling the strings. Apparently they are in love, and this goes against the stories The Left are allegedly telling themselves. I repeat: it takes 33 attempts to leave an abuser, during which time you might still love them, and hope they will change. Perhaps Carrie thinks this sharp shock to the system might affect Boris’ behaviour, to think and act more carefully, even behind closed doors. This might just make Boris even more secretive and controlling, to avoid exposure like this again.
This relationship is doomed. It may take her many years to come to grips with it and shake herself free from its grasp.
If we’re looking at ‘evidence’, Julia, let’s consider the fact that non violent, non controlling relationships don’t usually result in a visit from the police. The people who made the report had sufficient concerns for her safety and well-being, if there was no evidence of an altercation the police would have said so and reprimanded the callers. To my knowledge, this did not occur.
The first response to Julia’s comment came right out of ‘the perpetrator’s guide to getting the police on side’. I can’t tell you how many times prolific perps, that is to say those who’ve had enough experience of the system to know how to play it, have said these exact words and used defensive wounds inflicted by the victim as evidence she initiated the attack. Luckily there are specialist domestic violence courts and professionals who’ve been trained to recognise these tactics, myself included (but this doesn’t help anyone when I am banned from social media).
Furthermore, we cannot advise people ignore violence if they are in the vicinity and can hear it loud and clear, ‘because it is none of their business’, that is how domestic abusers were able to run rings around the authorities as recently as the 90s. Not only that but this typically silencing behaviour is usually the purview of perpetrators. Non violent people who oppose violence do not ignore violence. This speaks to the decades of historic abuse where they all knew about it and nobody did a thing. Now we have a crisis as a nation of survivors and victims, authorities are ill equipped to deal with the fall out and senior officers of the law are even making unthinkable suggestions to let the past lie, because the present is all consuming.
There are two types of people in this world; those who abhor violence and are committed to calling it out and those who thrive on it, because it feels like home. We’re all telling on ourselves, one way or another.
It might just be me but there’s something strange about the way I was booted off Twitter (for as long as it usually takes to become yesterday’s news) on the very day two violent rich white men were splashed all over the news for gendered violence. I mean, it’s always a bit weird when I am ticked off for promoting bigoted hatred or inciting violence by a company that has actively fanned the flames of white supremacy and enabled Nazis when apparently they are not subject to the same rigorous vetting process opponents of white supremacy appear to be, but to silence me as an expert in gendered violence, at such a crucial time?
Tom Sleigh, a councillor for Bishopsgate in the City of London, was doing his utmost to protect his aggressive colleague and friend Mark Field, giving impassioned speeches about how threatened they all were, when a cursory glance at his TL the night before revealed how unfazed he had been by it all.
Perhaps he took umbrage at my daring, that I would forget my place and not fear their wrath. A 7 day ban for a hyperbolic tweet in which I was fairly measured compared to all the other responses it had garnered (a trophy hunting monster, unrepentant, threatening to kill more giraffes) is a bit excessive. Especially given the way they could not chastise me for my tweets on the matter in hand, so went trawling through my history, looking for the slightest thing they could twist to their advantage.
It might have been Tom, then again it could have been ‘Aunt Lydias’ Laura Kuenssberg or Julia Fartley Sewer. It might have been Iain Martin or even Charlotte Gill of The Times. Whoever it was, they defended violence against women in order to maintain their power. They keep dropping the bar, lowering standards for us all.
The following day we had the likes of Toby Young claiming the Stasi had it in for domestic abuser Boris Johnson. I’m well aware that the law exists only to punish the poorest in society whereas the upper classes are given carte blanche to behave as criminally as they like. Violence against a domestic partner is illegal and an arrestable offence, even if the victim doesn’t want to press charges. We have decades of experience telling us that victims often won’t press charges because there is a threat of further violence for going against the perpetrator. The worst incidents of violence usually occur after a woman leaves an abusive partner, 76% face a repeat incident post separation. It was decided that courts can enforce justice in cases where victims could be manipulated into withdrawing their allegations. The burden is placed on the authorities not the victim. In this way, we were able to hold more perpetrators to account. This is why it is crucial that neighbours report violence. In the absence of a doctor’s report or other professional testimonies, reports from witnesses suffice in a court of law. Imagine how loud they must have been for their neighbours to actually record it. They’re not living in a council building made of breeze blocks, the walls aren’t paper thin and from what I’ve seen it’s completely detached? They might have saved her life, those neighbours. I am grateful to them for their bravery and moral compass. We all have a duty to call out gendered violence wherever we see/hear it.
Carrie Symonds is probably never going to report her abuser. It takes on average 33 attempts for a victim/survivor to finally work up the courage to leave. For many victims, to have that abuse acknowledged when they cannot speak up, is a relief. I can’t say for sure whether she has tried to leave but I do know the neighbours reporting it on her behalf may have significantly cut the length of this process for her. She is no longer suffering in silence, the truth is out. Not that we ever thought that differently of notorious misogynist Johnson.
One of the first things Boris Johnson did in his role as mayor was to axe the role of Women’s Advisor at City Hall and five posts from the London Domestic Violence Strategy Team. He also removed £90,000 from the budget almost immediately. Given that this project had contributed to a 57% reduction in domestic abuse murders, one can only come to the natural conclusion that Boris hates women, and engages in gendered violence not only on a personal level but is actually a danger to us all. The Safer Travel at Night Board also got the chop, regardless of the fact it had ensured a 46% reduction in cab related sexual offences. The London Childcare Unit which provided support for low income families, 90% of them women, was also abolished.
At every turn, Boris has demonstrated his contempt for women. Perhaps this is why I was suspended, because I would have reminded you of his track record, and I was doing such a great job of shaming the defenders of Mark Field’s vaw, they feared I’d be in my element with Boris. I’ve tried to search for and so far failed to find the footage of Johnson actually making a joke about domestic violence on, I believe it was, Newsnight, with Paxman calling him out. Of course there is a footnote on Google explaining how some results have been removed under EU law.
What kind of person would defend such a monster? A nithing like Toby Billy No Mates Young of course. It suddenly makes sense why he has no friends, you are the company you keep after all, and I wouldn’t want to be judged for him.
Beware the Violent Rich White Men™, they have the power to deny everything and make it all your fault. Twitter is clearly in cahoots.
I think a few rich white men were offended by my tweets regarding white male violence against women and how easy it is for them to evade justice. I’ve just been suspended from Twitter again (for 7 days, during which I cannot tweet, only DM), for another hyperbolic tweet I’d completely forgotten about. I’m speaking in relation to trophy hunters, overwhelmingly rich and white and murderous. Nobody reported it at the time, presumably because nobody cares but what are facts when you’re trying to silence someone long enough for it to be yesterday’s news?
(the image featured a white woman holding a dead giraffe, apparently unrepentant, saying she would do it again)
As most of you know, I worked in DV services for near a decade, supporting women through the justice system, advocating on their behalf. I came into contact with women from all walks of life and learnt a lot about what to look for when there are no obvious signs of abuse because victims don’t tend to go shouting it from the rooftops. I learnt about how society enables abusers, how patriarchal societies are skewed in men’s favour, so that even violence against women and children is justified in order to maintain power. We provided a service for which there should not have been a need, that is, to ensure that public authorities were doing their duties correctly and to minimise further harm to vulnerable women and their children. A sad indictiment of British society, that we should need to constantly reiterate duty of care to agencies to prevent repeat incidents and educate them about the various types of abusers.
If there’s one thing I know intimately, it’s an abuser. I was raised by them, I was engaged to them, I watched many of them being sentenced for hurting my clients. Gendered violence knows no cultural racial religious or economic bounds (poverty doesn’t cause DV, just exacerbates it). Often the worst offenders are the people you are least likely to think of as violent, because they have a good job, went to a good school and move in the right circles. There is a higher prevalence of violence in males working public jobs in policing and justice. It felt counterintuitive to trust these people with vulnerable women but there were no other options. Just like it feels wrong to trust in the British state and government, people with the power to act with impunity, to claim up is down.
We all saw the footage of Mark Field handling the Greenpeace activist. As victims and survivors of gendered violence we were triggered, because we’ve seen that look before in an abuser’s eyes. We know that he’s done it before, it was so instinctual for him to grab her around her the neck. In the standard test for victims of DV, the CAADA (co-ordinated action against domestic abuse) DASH (domestic abuse, stalking and honour based violence) specifically asks whether the perpetrator has ever strangled or put their hands around the victim’s neck. This is because statistically, men who target the neck area are threatening to kill their victim. There is a correlation between men who strangle and domestic homicide. A yes reply would result in an instant referral to a MARAC (multi agency risk assessment conference) regardless of whether any of the other criteria was satisified. This fact cannot be downplayed by the defenders of violence against women, regardless of whether have a column in The Times or attended the Banker’s dinner.
When talking heads like these, with their privilege, and platforms use their power to deny abuse, as they have done with racism these past few years, incidents of violence increase. Violence trickles down, from parent to child, from the toffs to the underclass. They’re so keen to normalise violence, these very damaged adult children, because they took it when it happened to them, and didn’t complain, choosing instead to identify with their abusers. They are not normal, they are disordered, they believe violence against women can be justified.
..Except when the perpetrators are black or brown, then there are calls for collective punishment. We need to speak truthfully about the violence of white men and why it has been a badly kept secret for 100s of years. We know child sex abuse is endemic but we’re yet to accept the same of gendered violence, not when there are so many lazy stereotypes of poc to so easily buy into.
Given that there is a causal link between domestic abuse and terrorism, aren’t you reassured Field is the Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific? No? Me neither.
(The Greenpeace activist, Janet Baker, is quoted as saying Mark Field should go for anger management classes. I would advise against this as research suggests that perpetrators of gendered violence use them to hone their power and control, making them even more difficult to detect)
13 months after my personal independence payments were cut, I won my 2nd tribunal. 13 months of crowdfunding my rent. 13 months of reducing my food intake, buying the cheaper brand, going without, and feeling humiliated but on Friday, a panel ruled in my favour. There was no objection from the DWP representative who, I could have sworn, was even crying at one point. I felt bad for scowling at her after that!
I self harmed 4 times during that period, when I absolutely could not comply with the measures I’ve worked at to protect myself. I dissociated more frequently. I got as far as buying the instruments I would need to end it. Drew up a plan. Resisted writing the suicide note because that would make it final, and only because the people around me pulled through when I shared my invasive thoughts (a thing I was only able to do because I’d been taught, by my first therapist). They reminded me I’d managed to survive this long because people wanted to help me. They made me think about the people who look to me for strength and how my demise would impact on them. I didn’t really care in that split second but when the feverish urges passed I felt a bit sheepish I’ll admit. People do take strength from my courage.
When the DWP cut me off and sent me their decision, they said they were not disputing the fact that I had these disabilities just whether or not I qualified for personal independence payments. 13 months on and I’ve just been told I do. So was it really necessary to put me through this? What is its purpose otherwise? Survival of the fittest? It’s not strictly true anymore though is it? I’m nowhere near the fittest but I have recourse; to advocates, to friends who work in the public sector and health professionals who actually listen. Perhaps this mum didn’t?
Even with all the support I have, I came the closest I ever have to ending it. I didn’t enjoy asking for help, again and again, I was isolated and lonely as a result. I might be an anarcho-communist but I still have the hardwiring of a society that celebrates charity as a virtue but not if you’re on the receiving end. The shame still lingers. I didn’t want to die, I felt I had no other choice.
Recently I read about a young woman called Holly Cowlam who took her own life when she was diagnosed with depression. Holly had been studying psychology and so had some understanding of mental health. I get the sense, because she knew her chances in life would be greatly affected, as they are in a society that demonises mental health, she felt she had no other option. I know what that’s like; the shame and hopelessness. I refused to acknowledge my own mental health for 20 years, telling myself I was stronger than those others who had succumbed. In the end, you can’t really prevent it. I am the sum total of all the violence and treachery inflicted on me but with the right support, and freedom, and protection, I know I can get better.
What I do not need, and could have really done without, was being treated like I’m making it up. As a repeat victim of sexual and domestic violence, gaslighting is a straight up trigger for my PTSD. Being treated like I am insignificant and somehow asking for more than what is my right, having paid into a system for many years and on an emergency tax code more often than not (I did a lot of temp work because I was sick even then only I wouldn’t admit it) eventually wore me down in a way my mental and physical conditions do not, because I believe I can overcome them (to an extent). I needed time and space to heal not to be hindered by a cruel and abusive process.
Advocates for humanity must ramp up the pressure on this government and demand justice for all those who’ve needlessly died in our country. The architects of social cleansing must be tried for their crimes against our humanity.
You can judge a country by the way it treats its animals/poor/prisoners/women/disabled folk.
White supremacy is in white people’s DNA. They’ve ruled the waves, they will never be slaves, they do the enslaving. From the toffs to the chavs they whip into a frenzy in the name of white skin, they all BELIEVE they are superior (unless they are actively dismantling white privilege and abolishing the structures that enable it).
You can show them evidence of white people’s crimes and they will minimise it, from the cops to the court system and beyond. The brutal murder and rape of Alesha McPhail at the hands of a 16 year old white male has been fairly muted compared to the sensationalist and somewhat salacious accounts being reported on the matter of jihadist teen brides keen to repatriate. No, I personally do not believe all should be forgiven and forgotten in cases such as these but I do not think we should be making children stateless (or anyone for that matter – NO BORDERS). If we can hide the identity of a 16 year old rapist and murderer who inflicted some of the worst injuries the police have ever seen on a 6 year old baby, a suspect who’s never shown any remorse, and continues to evade justice by perverting the course to it (he says the semen was planted on the child’s body by a vengeful Jezebel), then we can show compassion to a young person who was groomed into her role as a sort of useful idiot. There’s no confidentiality clause for young brown people when they are suspected of committing heinous crimes. No, not when 76% of Sun readers have made their minds up about letting her and the baby rot in their sorry refugee camp. With scenes from the BBC’s Bodyguard fresh in everyone’s minds, brown Muslim women are already condemned as traitors and terrorists, sly and sneaky. Why take the risk eh?
When Asian men groom young white girls everyone is up in arms (eventually) but their primary victims, their wives and daughters and mothers are fair game. Isis teen is born evil I guess, just like all the other darkies. Listening to her though, with the tiniest bit of compassion and understanding of the naive developing mind of a teenage girl (she was 15 years old when she was recruited) and not as an other but one of our own, born and bred, I can see only how she has been neglected and pushed to the limits by a society that has rejected her from the moment she was old enough to understand she was an other, and how easily a predator could have taken advantage of that. She appeals to the British public’s sympathy because that is the image we’re given of white people, they like to see themselves as magnanimous and she is aware of it, as we all are. Sadly I don’t think she actually believes it (as none of us do), but she’s desperate. She has given her newly born child the kind of protection she has never afforded herself. To her own detriment she is appealing for the safety of her child, as any mother would. She needs guidance and rehabilitation not spiteful retribution. People like Maajid Nawaz managed it but I have to wonder, is it because he routinely toes the British National party line on good and bad Muslims? Do you have to jump hoops to satisfy white interests? Swear allegiance to queen and country? A rhetorical question obviously, I can confirm this to be true.
Every day I see more evidence of white crimes, the likes of which chill you to the core and make you not want to step foot out of your front door or have your own children. I had a white lady anti vaxxer threaten to lick me, at one end of the batshit scale and read of threats to lynch women of colour MPs who dare to speak out against Brexit, down the other. I’ve had my own troop of white savages threatening to rape and kill me since a white journalist used an opportunity to deny racism was everywhere. Imagine if Helen Lewis had been sympathetic to our pleas all those years ago or any of her journalist friends instead of throwing us to their fascist following. Are we really going to let the media and politicians get away with the hellscape they’ve created?
Farage has recrutied 100,000 people to his newest fash party. Like all his other ventures into the mainstream this party has only one objective and that’s racism. He’s not building a legitimate party to win a war of words he’s putting together an army. He has threatened violence before. He has denied murderous violence, in the wake of the white supremacist slaying of Jo Cox in broad daylight. He is dangerous and should have already been blacklisted. Why hasn’t this happened?
The liberal/left wing media denied Britain was racist and turned everyone against the people who were trying to wake you up to this reality. Then they claimed antisemitism was the only racism any of us should pay attention to and rushed to the aid of European nationals threatened with repatriation under Brexit, whilst they quietly condemned the Windrush generation to deportation and destitution. They let brown foreign nationals die in hospitals from treatable diseases because their humanity is lost. Everywhere I look I see intense suffering of ethnic minorities and trauma that will span some generations to come and injustice wherever white people commit crimes.
Another day, another slew of reports on sexual predators facing justice in our criminal justice system, and how some of them evade it. The use of scare quotes for eg can suggest the reporter is scornful of the information being relayed or that it is has struck a chord with them, and is throwing it out there for the reader to make up their own mind. By introducing an element of doubt, by questioning the use of particular words they cast shadows on the validity of the interviewee’s opinion. The mainstream media don’t so much as report the news, or uncover grave injustices, they shape it, they can fashion it out of thin air. How would you know otherwise, unless you were there at the time? You don’t believe everything you read, do you?
‘Committed paedophile’ PC Ian Naude was convicted today of raping a 13 year old girl in the back of his car and filming the attack. He also pleaded guilty to 31 other offences including misconduct in public office and grooming of other teenage girls, one of whom threatened to kill herself. What’s particularly harrowing about this case is how Naude was due to start as a junior officer in 2017 but the process was put on hold when an allegation of rape was made against him. I believe them, and the authorities perhaps should have done too but no further action was taken and the recrutiment process was continued.
Thinking back to my work as a support worker for women fleeing male violence, the standards that must be satisified in order for a case to make it to the CPS are as much about whether or not a victim is telling the truth as they are about evidence against the perpetrator. Surely PC Naude would have been required to undertake a CRB check before he was permitted to interact with members of the public? They take a while to process for non police related professions, about 3 months, but the police have access to multiple systems including POVA and other registers for the protection of vulnerable children and adults they can check before the official papers come back. Odd then that the police authority failed to notice the two child grooming allegations naming him reported to Staffs and West Mercia police in 2017.
A persistent and ‘committed paedophile’, Naude was able to bypass security checks that should have flagged him up as a concern before he was ever recruited. He should never have been allowed to interact with members of the public least of all vulnerable minors who were looking to him for protection. He is not the first and he won’t be the last. The police should just stop expecting the public to trust in them when they cannot guarantee our safety in their presence.
Who can we trust? We can’t trust the police, who seem disproportionately represented in sexual and domestic violence statistics, they offend at a rate 5 times higher than the national average. We can’t trust the media, they spent decades watching and covering up Britain’s nasty treasures, and crawled out of the woodwork post Savile to confirm they had seen it all unfold but that stopped rather abruptly when we turned on them for being such useless complicit witnesses to horrific child abuse. I would suggest it’s one of the reasons they stay focused on Asian grooming gangs. The racist outrage and plots for revenge are all consuming, there’s no space to think about anything else. With propaganda focused on predatory savages, the police, media, government and all their collaborators got a get out of jail free card.
I suppose Lord Lester is so self assured in this scheme he can approach Asian survivors of violence like Jasvinder Sanghera (an inspiration to many women like myself) who founded the Karma Nirvana project in 1993 to provide culturally specific support to women experiencing domestic violence, and promise her a peerage if she slept with him. He groped her and chased her around his kitchen, after offering a place to stay when she missed the last train home. They had been working on changing the law to make forced marriage an offence, back in 2006. I remember that project, I too was involved in a small way when the Asian refuge I was working in invited members of the house of lords to come see the crucial work we were doing with women who had no recourse to public funds. I am utterly disgusted by the revelations that one of ours was being harassed and assaulted by the very people we were appealing to for social justice.
I believe Jasvinder Sanghera. I am not at all surprised however that there are people including Lord Lester himself, saying she is a liar. What kind of a world do we live in when a trusted and upstanding member of a network that protects victims is being framed as dishonest? “I was acutely aware of the power imbalance”, she said “If I’d said anything, who would believe me?” She felt all the same things all victims do, even with her CBE and many awards and accolades. She has waived her right to anonymity because she continues to stand for all women, in every way she can.
She is going to need support, especially as it seems the establishment are doubling down. How on earth do we contend with the all powerful, those with such a blatant disregard for common people, who use their punitive powers to cast aspersions on victims and survivors? Jasvinder herself has said she feels as though she “has been victimised all over again”. Power has asserted itself.
They can frame it however they like, the mainstream media and politicians, we know different. They’ll print an article here, and another there, news they can’t afford to ignore but they won’t join the dots to expose the network, not like they do with Asian grooming gangs. There’s no middle page spread on the privileged establishment old boy networks running through the centre of all public services, because they run all the papers too. They’ll throw the odd working class monster to the dogs, for balance, but won’t ever report on the pervasive and far reaching sickness of familial child abuse, the most common of all sex abuses in the United Kingdom. You are more likely to be raped by your father or brother or uncle than you are ever to come in contact with an Asian grooming gang.
The problem is too huge to take care of one sector at a time. Instead we need a class war and survivors must take the lead.