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.