Thursday, 28 February 2008

Murders that demand a radical shift in attitudes

The past week we have seen three men convicted and sentenced for horrific murders of women - Levi Bellfield, Steve Wright and Mark Dixie are now where they should be behind bars. There are calls for hanging and for everyone to hand over their DNA, two of the men were caught by historic DNA however we don't all have to hand over our DNA at all - there is something that is common between these three men and that is they had a history of violence towards women and girls and they bought sex from prostitutes. we need the DNA of men who are violent to women and from those who buy sex from prostitutes. Prostituted women are 18 times more likely to be murdered than women who are not prostitutes, the majority of those that kill, batter, rape, threaten and abuse prostitutes also buy sex from prostitutes.

Joan Smith had a thoughtful article in the Independent today.The online article is here

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Bring back hanging! I've heard it many times in the last week, following the convictions of three men for the murders of eight young women. On Tuesday, Levi Bellfield was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison, the same sentence that Steve Wright was given at the end of last week. Mark Dixie will serve a minimum of 34 years after a trial in which, amazingly, he denied murder but admitted necrophilia.

In each case, the details which emerged in court were horrific, and phone-in shows resound with demands for capital punishment. Alternatively, because of the role played by DNA in identifying Dixie and Wright, there have been suggestions that the entire population should be on a DNA database.

The first impulse stems from a desire for revenge, the second from a feeling that "something must be done". Both should be resisted, and the fact that they are being made at all is evidence of a state of collective denial. Leaving aside the overwhelming moral case against the death penalty, the judicial murder of a few notorious offenders will not stop violence against women, and risks distorting public perceptions about the subject even further.

What is striking about Wright and Bellfield is that so many people were aware that they abused women but nobody felt able to do anything about it. In a society where domestic violence is commonplace and rape goes unpunished, what is someone to do when they suspect that a man is abusing girls and women?

I am not arguing that all men treat women badly. But a substantial minority do, and we refuse to read the signals or condemn their behaviour unequivocally. Bellfield had a reputation for picking up under-age girls and having sex with them in the back of his van, even offering to prostitute his 16-year-old "girlfriend" and her 14-year-old sister to an employee; a former partner recalled finding magazines in which he slashed photographs of blonde women, with whom he had a lethal obsession.

Wright had a series of violent relationships, attacking partners and abusing them as "slags" and "whores". The Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, told a drinking friend he had attacked a woman with a stone hidden in a sock, but it took five years for the man to inform the police; while he was thinking about it, 13 women were murdered and half a dozen others attacked.

There is no need to put the entire country, including women and children, on a DNA database to discover the identity of men who pose a threat to women. Despite all the calls I've had from journalists over the past few days, asking me what motivates men like Wright, Dixie and Bellfield, there is no great mystery about it.

Men do not commit such crimes out of the blue; most of them don't even bother to hide their hatred of women. There is usually a childhood history of domestic violence, which means that they grow up in an atmosphere of physical fear and contempt for women, whom they regard both as victims and the cause of their fathers' violence.

I've heard a great deal about the role of absent mothers in the psychopathology of men who kill women, but cause and effect are being confused here; a misogynist culture inevitably overlooks the father's role and blames the mother, even when her reason for leaving the family is to escape violence.

When boys from such homes become men, they provide plenty of warnings in the form of abusive behaviour to wives and girlfriends and histories of sexual violence. Dixie had a lengthy criminal record, including five convictions for sexual offences, but served only brief prison sentences. With only one in 20 rapes reported to the police ending in a conviction, most rapists get away with their crimes; the Soham murderer, Ian Huntley, was accused of rape on five occasions but none of the cases got to court, leaving him free to kill two 10-year girls.

If we're serious about preventing more horrific murders, social attitudes have to change dramatically. That means reversing the popular assumption that most rapes aren't really rapes at all because the victim had been drinking or knew her attacker. The other thing that's needed is an acknowledgement of the inextricable link between prostitution and sexual violence.

It isn't a lack of licensed brothels that makes selling sex dangerous; it's the kind of men who buy it. Women who work as prostitutes are 18 times more likely to be murdered than the rest of us, for the simple reason that their "clients" include a high proportion of men who enjoy humiliating and hurting women. That's the group whose DNA detectives need to get their hands on; if we changed the law to allow the police to arrest men who try to buy sex, they could clear up a huge number of unsolved sexual attacks

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline reaches record levels.

Lets hope the helpline is reaching record levels because women are asking for help rather than men's violence against women is increasing.

The tel is 0800 027 1234, it is free, confidental and cannot be traced.

The helpline said more victims feel confident about coming forwardThe number of calls to a helpline for victims of domestic violence is at a record high.
More than 21,000 calls were made to the Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline (SDAH) last year, an increase of 3% on 2006.
It is believed the rise is because more victims feel confident enough to come forward and ask for help.
The callers were mostly women but a significant number were men and children. Some of the youngsters wanted to get help for their mothers.
The helpline said the problem affected people from all parts of Scotland regardless of age, background and social class.
The calls are not just about physical abuse, many were in relation to psychological or emotional abuse

The Communities Minister Stewart Maxwell is now calling for more to be done to tackle domestic abuse.
He said: "While we have made progress in changing attitudes and encouraging women to report domestic abuse, there is still a lot more work to do in tackling this problem.
"The helpline is an important partner for us in tackling domestic abuse and their help has transformed the lives of many women and their children.
He said it was important that people were encouraged to seek help and report incidents to the police so the true extent of the problem could be discovered and perpetrators properly punished.
Helpline number
Liz Kelly, head of training at the SDAH, said: "We have had calls that range from people looking for immediate help to get out of a relationship because of domestic abuse, women looking for refuge accommodation, women who need urgent medical attention or who want to report incidents of domestic abuse to the police.
"The calls are not just about physical abuse, many were in relation to psychological or emotional abuse, which was highlighted by the Scottish Government's awareness campaign."
The Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline number is 0800 027 1234 and lines are open 24 hours and calls are free, confidential and cannot be traced.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Chinese trafficked prostitutes in Stirling

The only way to stop tafficking of women for prostitution is to stop prostitution. Any man found to have had sex with these women should be charged wth rape. The men paying to have sex with these women were hardly going for conversation or because "my wife doesn't understand me".

by Tim Bugler from the Scotsman Newspaper
FOUR Chinese women trafficked into Scotland by gangs to work in the sex industry have been found during a series of raids by police.
The women, in their 20s, were found in two separate properties in Grangemouth and an up- market area of Stirling.Two Chinese men were arrested at the same time.A police source said yesterday: "This is an excellent result and once again illustrates the insidious extent of the sex trade in Scotland."This weekend is the start of Chinese New Year, and for these four girls, the Year of the Rat should be an awful lot happier than recent times that they have endured."Girls like these tend to come from very rural and very poor parts of China. They would have been forced to hand over many thousands of pounds to the snakeheads, after being promised jobs here as waitresses, dancers or nannies."They then have to endure dreadful conditions as they are trafficked through Central Asia, the Balkans and eastern Europe, before arriving in Britain without anything, apart from the hollow promise of a new life."Unfortunately, the girls who the police rescued are the tip of an iceberg, and there will always be many hundreds of others back in China more than happy to try their luck in Britain."

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Domestic abuse rises when Euro game on

This is probably connected to alcohol and men's entitlement to believe their female partners can make them feel OK and when they can't cause their team got beat well she deserves it. It was my birthday that night so I chose to stay in with my partner as i knew it wouldn't be nice to go out. Another example of men you don't know controlling you. violence soared on the night Scotland lost to Italy in the Euro 2008 championship qualifier, figures have suggested.Strathclyde Police revealed that between April and December last year there was an average of 92 domestic abuse incidents reported.However, on Saturday, 17 November, the figure went up to 126.SNP MSP for the Glasgow region, Sandra White, said the increase was largely fuelled by drink.The figures also showed that on the Saturday before the crunch football match, 89 domestic abuse incidents were reported and there were 90 on the Saturday after the qualifier.Almost two thirds - 64% - of the incidents on the day of the big game were alcohol-related.Ms White said: "This was a football match heralded and promoted as the biggest football feast of the century and one which the whole of Scotland looked forward to."Sadly, for so many, these figures clearly show that for them there was nothing to cheer about."She added: "With pubs showing alcohol sales during this period higher than Christmas and kick- off time at 5pm there is no doubt that the binge drinking culture of Scotland was evident."This cannot and should not be tolerated in any decent society and must be tackled."

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Racism and violence against women

I have just read a very distressing article in the Sunday Times here

It tells of a story of a 15 year old girl with learning disabilities being prostituted by her parents and mother in law (she has a mother in law though she can't really because she is 15). The article then goes on to discuss "honour killings" and the threat of honour killings. But is it me or does it just read like a diatribe against muslims as opposed to the horrendous organised sexual abuse of a young disabled woman. The Sunday Times when writing about prostitution never links it to the harm of women or the abuse of women and is quite happy to portray prostituted women as "happy hookers" or to re-tell the story of a high class prostitute or brainy students from Oxford "working" through college here.

However when talking about muslims they take a feminist and child protection stance yet somehow fail to talk about the perpetrators as sex offenders and prefers to talk about them as muslims. There is something wrong here and the comments part of the article are promoting racism.

Check out Southhall Black Sisters here

Saturday, 2 February 2008

1% of domestic abuse reports goes to conviction

Diversion and formal warnings are not prosecutions or convictions!!! A researcher once told me that more people have winnings on the lottery every week than people are convicted of domestic abuse offences.

Thousands of cases of domestic abuse in the North-east are going unpunished.Scottish Government figures have revealed more than 3,000 cases a year of domestic abuse have been reported to Grampian Police.But the only year with a record of how many convictions there were was 2005/06 - when only 39 people were punished by the courts for domestic abuse.According to Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill there were 3,560 cases reported to Grampian Police in 2005/06, which fell to 3,137 in 2006/07.The number of cases had peaked in 2004/05 with 4,373.North-east Labour MSP Richard Baker, who got the information in a parliamentary question, claimed that more needed to be done to stop domestic abuse.He said: "It is wrong that thousands of cases of domestic abuse are going unpunished and women in particular may be going unprotected from violent partners."I would like the Scottish Government to look at how this can be tackled."A spokeswoman for Grampian Police said: "We take domestic abuse very seriously and encourage people to report it."The conviction rate is a matter for the Crown Office rather than the police, but it should be noted that in addition to prosecution there are other forms of disposal available such diversion, and formal warnings."