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Guest blog: Jon Cruddas, on men's role in ending violence against women(74 Posts)
This week's guest blog is by Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham. He's writing about violence against women and girls - and what government, society, and men themselves can do to stop it.
Do have a look, and tell us what you think of his assessment of the issues, and the plans he outlines. Are his proposals a step in the right direction? If not, what do you think can be done to make violence against women and girls culturally and socially unacceptable?
If you post on this topic, don't forget to add your URL to the thread.
I certainly think in general women tend to be better able to escape violence if they are educated and earn their own money. However I agree that that does not remove all violence. In fact I think FMG is woman on woman and a lot of the men aren't too bothered about it. It is the mothers and grandmothers who impose it - it can in effect by woman on woman violence. Other domestic violence is however indeed man on woman in the main. In fact this week the news included items about children physically abusing parents which we don't often see in the press so there are certainly a lot of aspects to all this.
HB, thanks for the blog link. In our local schools (very mixed race) some girls take 30 minutes to urinate because of the mess that has been made to their bodies during FMG.
I would have no problem with my children being examined for FMG although I suspect it would be best to concentrate on schools where children are from that part of the world. It could be a condition for admission to the school that they consent in advance. Anyway we want children who are not ashamed of their bodies, happy to show them etc. If a family is bringing up a child to think its body must be hidden and covered then that is not great for children. I am from a doctor's family and we have never had issues about nudity etc and I certainly would not have minded by daughters when 4 - 6 etc being examined at school by a school nurse for signs of FMG.
Salad, for every one woman using the services when they don't need them, there are probably 50-100 not using them when they would really help.
As promised, I've had a trawl through old threads about opt-in porn filtering. I hope it's OK to re-post this here, I'm not sure Kaloki's around any more but the post below clearly explains the problems with this proposal. If you're still reading, Kaloki, thanks once again for your excellent post ...
*KalokiMallow Thu 23-Dec-10 18:59:06*
I apologise in advance, this is probably going to be a long post, but if you are interested in the technical reasons why filtering porn cannot work, then you really should read it.
Anatomy of a website
The domain is the address you type in.
This is actually separate to the website itself, which is why you can have multiple domain names pointed to the same site.
Say you wanted to block www.mumsnet.com you wouldn't necessarily be blocking access to the website itself. As they could then just set up www.mumsnetisback.com without having to change where it is hosted or reload content.
You also could block domain names with keywords in the title, say you blocked "mumsnet", however this wouldn't block www.mummsnet.com - which could easily be pointed at the same site.
So that wouldn't work for filtering websites, too easy to get around.
A website is hosted on rented or bought server space, you could block the IP address for a server, which is what the domain name points to. This is about the only way to block websites, but requires you individually blocking each website.
An ISP provides access to the internet, whether for a user or server, some have their own servers which they host sites on. But not all do. Hosting and providing net access are two different things.
Essentially the same as the domain name, but with directions to specific pages or files.
You could block specific pages within a website, either by keyword or knowing the address. However you'd have to somehow take into account embedded information;
The web standard style of coding websites nowadays usually runs along the lines of;
So while you may have blocked "main page", you haven't blocked "header", "content" and "footer", and if someone was to direct link to one of them..
Hidden information coded into webpages, usually keywords and a description. Not all sites bother with this though.
So although you could search the meta data for keywords and block pages where the meta keywords are to be filtered, if someone hasn't entered meta data then the computer will have no way of knowing.
Keywords could also be in the coding. This will include the text you see on the page. You could block pages with blocked keywords, however, read on to see why that is flawed.
There are only two way to block images.
1) Block any images that are inserted using the <img src= /> code. Which will block 99% of images. 99% of all images that is. Including the MN logo at the top of your page.
2) Block images with filtered keywords, but this has the same problem as meta data, it doesn't have to be filled in. And the image file could be 111111.jpg. With no keyword data, you have no clue of that is a pornographic image or a pretty little flower.
There is no technology that exists that can identify what an unlabelled, generically titled image is either.
Exactly the same as Images. This covers embedded video, interactive flash and audio.
Different filtering methods
You could block keywords. But what keywords would you block for porn?
Penis? Vagina? Breast?
- there goes any website that mentions anatomy in any way, say medical websites...
- so no personal pages about Ginger the cat.
- There goes this page, and a large part of the feminism forum.
Do any of you have spam filters on your email? Does that work all of the time?
Do you ever get emails asking if you'd like to purchase v1agra?
That's the other way to get round keyword filters, just type things wrong or leave sp aces in them. You could even add in sym|3ols.
Also, if you wanted text but didn't want it searchable then you'd just use an image file with the text on and not label the image file. Easy.
So to summarise. You can block individual IP addresses, one by one - but hang on, how would you implement this? Who'd decide? Do you create a central agency to decide? Or do you leave it up to the public to report?
If you leave it up to the public do you immediately filter any reported sites to look at when someone gets a chance? Or do you wait? Could get a few complaints when sites aren't removed promptly enough? Say you decide that you will only filter a site when it has a set number of complaints? What happens when a large group of internet users decide it would be amusing to all report one site at once?
And would you block the page with the content, or the whole site? What if someone posted a pornographic picture on flickr, do you filter all of flickr?
If you use keywords to block sites then you will block innocent websites.
There's also a flaw with opting in. Say it's a family network, (because remember, the ISP's can't distinguish between separate computers) and one person wants to opt in (possibly because the filter system has blocked a website which isn't actually pornographic) then how do you protect the children?? Oh yeah, a computer based filter. One which can be set up not only for individual computers, but also for individual user accounts on one computer.
And you can set it up to block or not block exactly what you want! How exciting!
More very long threads on this topic here and here
Not all women or all feminists are in favour of internet censorship by the way.Parents decide what they want their children to experience whether that be other parents walking around naked at home or everyone covered up, whether that be pro or anti hunting, meat or no meat, religion or none, whether they are allowed any TV/media at all. Plenty of women are very much against any new opt in law.
On FMG in today's papers is this which is very helpful:
"DAVID CAMERON is to allocate tens of millions of pounds of Britains foreign aid to eradicating female genital mutilation (FGM) around the world within a generation.
He will make the largest-ever international investment to wipe out the practice, in which young girls are mutilated because their communities believe it makes them more marriageable.
FGM is banned in Britain but up to 24,000 girls aged under 15 mainly of African and Middle Eastern origin are considered at risk of being taken abroad for the operation.
Camerons move comes after ministers praised an undercover investigation by The Sunday Times that exposed a doctor, a dentist and an alternative medicine practitioner in Britain offering to circumcise girls as young as 10, or help to arrange for the procedure to be carried out.
Ministers believe the best way to protect girls in Britain is to invest in educational schemes that could eradicate it worldwide. As many as 100,000 women in Britain are thought to have undergone FGM, according to Forward, a charity that campaigns against the practice.
The campaign will be the centrepiece of a series of announcements by Cameron to mark International Womens Day on Friday.
FGM, which is estimated to affect 140m women worldwide, involves the surgical removal of a girls external genitalia, and in some cases stitching up the vagina. It can lead to health problems, including infections, difficulty in urinating, scarring and painful intercourse. It can also cause fatal haemorrhaging.
Lynne Featherstone, the international development minister with responsibility for women, is to lead the international drive to eradicate FGM. She believes it can be reduced by 30% in five years and abolished as a cultural norm within a generation.
This week she is to travel to New York, where she will announce at a UN summit on violence against women that Britain will lead a worldwide campaign to stamp out the practice.
The girl who undergoes FGM is the same girl who is taken out of school early to marry, and the same girl who dies before she reaches age 20, giving birth to her third child, she said.
FGM has been a highly neglected area within international development, considered too taboo and, frankly, too difficult to tackle. The new programme is ambitious, with the aim of ending FGM in a generation.
Britain will target investment at galvanising a global movement against the mutilation. It will also be spent on community programmes aimed at changing the belief that girls who have not had their external genitalia removed will not find a good husband.
In Somalia, Sudan and parts of Egypt, 90% or more of women reportedly undergo the procedure. However, some countries, including Senegal and Kenya, have started trying to eradicate it.
In Senegal, villages rejecting FGM hold a ceremony to celebrate their decision. However, the practice remains widespread in other African states.
The government is also planning to involve diaspora communities from Africa and the Middle East living in Britain to stop them sending back girls to be cut.
In a separate move to stamp out FGM in Britain, the Home Office is also examining how to deport cutters who illegally mutilate girls here. There has not yet been a single prosecution in the UK of a cutter. The practice carries a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
Waris Dirie, a former Somali model who campaigns against FGM and has revealed that she had been a victim of the practice, said: People who practise FGM or offer to perform FGM are criminals and must be brought to justice.
Parents decide what they want their children to experience
Technical problems notwithstanding, it is illegal to allow your children to access pornography. It's quite rightly counted as child sexual abuse.
End the sexualisation of women, it's bloody everywhere and makes women's bodies commodities. Our children are growing up thinking its normal, and that is seriously wrong.
Ban page 3, I mean honestly, what is wrong with us? Can people got give up boobs over breakfast?
Opt in for porn.
Relationship education in schools from primary, because there isn't enough happening in lots of homes and the messages they get from the media are so conflicting.
In 50 years I think we will look back at how the Internet and media were fairly unregulated and we will be aghast.
Page 3, Nuts, FHM....they're everywhere and where children can see them. Children should not be seeing this stuff, specifically boys. As a teenager, I hated seeing The Sun, The Sport etc and that was before all the FHM and Nuts crap. It made me uncomfortable and not keen on men. When I first got boobs I felt self-conscious because of these publications and wore baggy tops or walked around with my arms crossed over my chest. Teenage boys think these images are acceptable and normal. I don't want my sons growing up with this shite. They are only 6MO and 4YO, but it would be nice if this stuff would go before they reach a certain age.
Just echoing others but;
Education in schools about porn, body image, domestic violence is vital.
Support from the police for women who have been assaulted/attacked.
End corruption in churches. Priests should not be forgiven and sent on their merry way to abuse again in a different county, or another country.
Close the pay gap.
It's theft that women are paid less then men.
Glad to see others wanting an end of the normalisation of women being depicted everywhere as sexual beings rather than just human beings.
For me, it is where every issue about women being treated badly starts - boys growing up in a culture which demeans women in everyday life have to swim against the tide not to think of women as somehow less valid or equal.
There is the simple starting point, Mr Cruddas - ban page 3 and put magazines like FHM, Zoo and Nuts on the top shelf with other porn. That would send out a clear message that it is no longer acceptable to demean women in this way. I cannot understand why it is so hard to do this - is you replaced women being used in this way and substituted coloured people, the idea becomes instantly offensive. A coloured person on page 3 with an inane speech bubble coming out of their mouth (because anything they have to say must be hilarious)? - grossly offensive. So why is depicting women in this way any different?
Page 3 and the like shouldn't be allowed. It serves to provide an environment where women are turned into sex objects - more info here
I once called the police about my abusive ex - they laughed at me. He'd thrown a bunch of bananas at my face (it weighed about 1kg). They thought I was having a laugh. A few months later he threatened me with a hammer for the second time (I didn't report the first) and it took over half an hour for someone to arrive, even though he smashed up the phone while I was making the call to emergency services. They took me seriously then, but were too short-staffed to turn up sooner.
He wasn't arrested, however, despite the fact that they could see the house was smashed up and I was terrified. They didn't do anything except send me a load of leaflets to my work about DV.
When my ex harrassed me after we'd split, the liaison officer was amazing. But the older detective who took my statement was cynical and not very supportive and could have put off another woman from pressing charges.
What would be good is if women were included in the hate speech legislation.
Currently you can be prosecuted for hate speech on the grounds of race, religion or sexual orientation, but not on the grounds of sex (I don't think disability is covered either, it would be good to see that remedied too).
IMHO women need to do more too. Personally, I would never buy a newspaper with a page 3 girl in it: I strongly disagree that this should be allowed and I vote with my feet.
This and this sort of thing needs to be defined as hate speech. It need to be taken seriously and prosecuted.
Women and girls need the police to take seriously their complaints about the low level constant sexual harassment they have to endure on a daily basis.
At one point, not so long ago, it was perfectly acceptable to launch into a racist rant in the pub then toddle off, drunk, to drive home. Neither of these things is seen as acceptable behaviour now. It didn't take a whole lot of time to make that culture change. It just needed legislation with teeth and the backing of the justice system and the media.
Get CAFCASS, judges, police officers and everyone else trained up in just how harmful domestic violence is for children and STOP men who are guilty of it, having sole contact with children and being allowed to go back to the family home.
Attended this meeting, which was very bold, and tackled some brave issues. But I was also really disappointed! Made the point that violence needs to be tackled at birth, and children need to be taught in their formative years. I gave an example of my neighbours 4 month old baby who after witnessing dv from his father towards the mother has been traumatised. Was shot down saying survivors go on to have successful lives, which I agreed with also.
It seemed that there were a choice few organisations who'd all linked in with one another, quite cliche, and weren't willing to listen to others ideas/opinions.
Those who make the decisions are CBE's and MBE's which although my own personal view, I don't agree with, as it goes back to days of empire, and control and violence, which didn't make sense at such a meeting.
Or am I wrong??
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Thank you Jon Cruddas for appealing for ' a popular social movement of moral anger'. I am angry, every woman I speak to is angry and has a story to tell. We must support Mr Cruddas and appeal to our government to follow in the footsteps of Iceland's ministers and address online circulation of hardcore and often violent pornography.
There are some important points here. Essentially we are dealing with mental health issues. We are concentrating on the DV of men against women and children because that is the topic of today. We can talk about the pain caused, the assault on woman's ego and the very personal feeling of injustice. There is a clear sense of right and wrong of punishments meted out to retaliate. Clearly in these cases the anger which fuels the violence would better be used for other purpose. The preferred method for settling differences is through dialogue and negotiation. Sometimes violence can be avoided by improving communication.
Statistically women are more proned to be violent against children but this information is largely quoshed. In court physical aggression demonstrated by men can be described as domestic violence, but when demonstrated by women it is toned down to something they call "implacable hostility". One thing is clear, it's always better to resolve issues respectfully. One of the emotions we feel is anger. This is natural for all animals regardless of gender. It's how you identify it and deal with it that matters. There are plenty of books on the subject.
"Statistically women are more proned to be violent against children but this information is largely quoshed."
What do you mean by that?
That women are statistically more prone to be violent against children than they are against other women or against men? That is very likely.
Or that they are more prone to be violent against children than men are? Because if it's the latter, that's bollocks. When you look at the amount of time women spend with children versus the amount of time men do and then you look at the amount of violence inflicted on children by women versus the amount inflicted by men, women proportionately less violent towards children than men are.
Hi. it could be that mothers have a lot more help for their behavioural problems. For instance Social Services have Family support Workers who can work with Mother to improve her parenting behaviour. Fathers on the other hand are offered very little from the same organisation. They might expect the Police but they aren't great social workers.
It seems very unfair that all the pressures of parenting seem to rest on Mums shoulders when father is equally capable of doing the same job, Hardly surprising that she doesn't get equality in the work place when he doesn't get equality in parental care.
I often think we are one of the most socially backward and gender unequal Countries in the world. The law doesn't reflect the reality which is that mens and womens roles are not nearly so well defined as they used to be.
Oh hi ngb9. Haven't seen you for a while.
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