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Please help a unique women's refuge keep its funding!

(31 Posts)
OneOrgasmicBirthPlease Tue 10-Feb-15 21:35:33

This a call for action and solidarity. Could you share this with your contacts and invite them to sign the petition.

The Council of Islington has decided to stop funding the only UK refuge service for Latin American and black ethnic minorities (BME) women and children fleeing from domestic violence. These women not only suffer violence in their own homes but also discrimination when accessing services. They face extreme hardship to get their voices heard as most of them don’t speak English and don’t know the legal system.

Please sign this petition.

bettyboop1970 Tue 10-Feb-15 21:41:47

Done, best of luck.

Littlefish Tue 10-Feb-15 21:44:13

Done.

KiaOraOAotearoa Tue 10-Feb-15 21:48:16

Done

scallopsrgreat Tue 10-Feb-15 22:17:18

Done

PuffinsAreFictitious Tue 10-Feb-15 22:37:18

Already done. Best of luck!

elQuintoConyo Tue 10-Feb-15 22:44:50

Done. (Not in UK... hope that doesn't matter!)

notquitegrownup2 Tue 10-Feb-15 22:48:25

Signed

INickedAName Tue 10-Feb-15 22:50:18

Done, have emailed to family and friends so that should add some more signatures.

YouNerrNoothinJonSnerr Wed 11-Feb-15 02:42:42

What is the justification for segregation on ethnic grounds and how do they face discrimination when accessing services? Surely the money would be more wisely and effectively spent by running a refuge available to women of all ethnicities who need it, and allocating some funds for translation and support services for non-English speakers.

After all, how many Latin American, non-English speaking women fleeing domestic violence an there be living in London at any one time? In times of financial dire straits it sounds like a bit of a luxury to me.

RosyAuroch Wed 11-Feb-15 04:51:19

Signed

RosyAuroch Wed 11-Feb-15 04:53:34

The no is meant for the closure by the way, in case it wasn't clear

Arsenic Wed 11-Feb-15 05:44:53

Having been heavily involved with the refuge system in the past, I'm afraid I can't support them any more, except on the basis of urging absolutely desperate women to use them (as that is sometimes all there is).

Too much of standard refuge practice is oppressive to women; the near universal insistence that women leave their home area and support networks to start again - destitute - in an unfamiliar area (instead of allowing women to calculate their own level of risk); The widespread ban on sons over 10 from joining their mothers in refuge (giving women a desperate choice to make); The pressure routinely put on women to relinquish their jobs and cars in order to enter refuge (funding concerns and trace risk cited respectively) thereby stripping women of self-respect and independence when they most need it and, as Snerr says, the questionable ethnic segregation.

The system is so outdated and infantalising, it's almost laughable. A C21st feminist response to male violence would entail removing the perpetrators, restricting the perpetrators, curtailling the personal freedoms of the perpetrators. We currently have the opposite and it props up and covers the inadequacies of the police and judicial response.

The key unifying feature of women in refuge is destitution and homelessness, even more than DV; women escaping violence who have an alternative choice tend to take it.

'Black and Latin American' seems a fairly random pairing, in any case. But if there is an argument for, say, language- based services, then it seems more coherent to me if it is a service that relates to homelessness with special cultural features.

chancer2014 Wed 11-Feb-15 05:59:20

Intelligent answer Arsenic. Do you know of any research that has looked at the approach taken by refuges in adding to women's disempowerment? It would be good to think Islington are pushing the money they save in other directions to support these women but I have little faith that's what's being done.

Arsenic Wed 11-Feb-15 06:27:30

Not that I've stumbled across chancer, but then there isn't really the audience, the appetite or the funding, is there?

Nothing really progressive has happened with DV since the Croydon specialist courts and I don't want to start counting on my fingers to guesstimate when that was. Labour boom years, I should think.

PuffinsAreFictitious Wed 11-Feb-15 06:53:14

I really don't know what to say about Arsenic's post.

I think I'd rather have been infantalised than dead though. Plus, I was a bit tired of being raped.

antimatter Wed 11-Feb-15 07:02:32

Arsenic
I signed this petition.
What is the alternative if all refuges closed?

PuffinsAreFictitious Wed 11-Feb-15 07:07:26

More dead women.

RosyAuroch Wed 11-Feb-15 07:13:20

I think in this case the choice is not between money going to
a refuge vs money going to a better solution for victims of dv
but
refuge vs nothing

Also, whilst I absolutely agree that the perpetrators should be the ones to move out & lose home, how would this be accomplished swiftly enough to actually save people's lives in a crisis situation? Wouldn't there still be a need for refuges even if only as a temporary place to stay until perpetrator can be evicted/charged/incarcerated.

Arsenic Wed 11-Feb-15 07:51:40

Yes Puffin I was rather bored of being raped and kicked too. So I had to choose to be infantalised. It was damaging to me and the isolation lasted a long, long time. That was at the turn of the century. Things should have progressed. They haven't.

I've worked in the refuge system since then (for a while) and I've supported it extensively. I will always take things to women staying at our local refuge where I now live.

But yet another circular appeal email before Christmas just snapped something for me. The support demanded for refuges always has to be so uncritical. I can't think of another sector that demands this.

Huge improvements could be made without closures. Accepting all minor children of ecaping women, regardless of gender. Allowing women to stay near their communities (all the taxi drivers and local boozers know where the refuges are anyway). Restructring HB funding so women can keep their jobs. None of that is closure.

I suppose (to me) the obvious comparator is responses to prostitution. In the 1970s we dragged sex workers into court every week, criminalizing them (extensively) and entrenching them in their career cul-de-sac while ignoring the clients. Finally, thinking has changed on this. But for the underlying principles of the refuge system, which were not evidence-based but grew out of muscular grass-roots (much-needed at the time) feminism from a handful of women in Chiswick, nothing has moved on much in 40 years.

I'm just exasperated and a bit angry. I'll shut up now.

Arsenic Wed 11-Feb-15 07:57:06

I will just namecheck the Poppy Project and Karma Nirvana as notable exceptions before I duck out, though. But, in doing so, I note that they are highly specialized services with a very good rationale for their specialization.

GoatsDoRoam Wed 11-Feb-15 09:35:29

I'm sorry you felt disempowered by your refuge experience, Arsenic.

There is a lot that is imperfect, and triggering, for women fleeing DV: having to face victim-blaming by police officers was one of mine, for example. When we're already emerging from years of control, it's hard when the services we turn to for help are not perfect in giving us agency. It becomes one more thing to fight, that we really shouldn't have to.

I can understand why refuges apply those policies, though.

Those policies didn't work for you, at a time that was emotionally fraught, and with little other choice available. Keep on being critical and calling for more options in refuges, and for policies that remove the perpetrator as a first recourse. I think that's right.

In the meantime, I have also signed the petition, as I think that any refuge option is still better than none, and I wish we had more refuges, whether or not they're applying principles developed 40 years ago.

scallopsrgreat Wed 11-Feb-15 10:01:07

"A C21st feminist response to male violence would entail removing the perpetrators, restricting the perpetrators, curtailling the personal freedoms of the perpetrators." I absolutely agree with that 100%. And I don't think that you would get much argument from most feminists.

But we are where we are at the moment and it isn't in that place. And neither is that feminists fault. It would require the co-operation of the police and other authorities to recognise the issue, name the problem as male violence, understand the systemic nature of it. Work is being done around those areas all the time. It is an ongoing process and will require a huge shift in attitudes and change of systems currently in place.

So whilst the refuge solution is by no means ideal, for the reasons you have explained, it is something that can be done outside (or only having to touch the edges) of the patriarchal authority structure in place.

Arsenic Thu 12-Feb-15 07:27:26

I'm sorry you felt disempowered by your refuge experience, Arsenic.

But not just mine and not just disempowering; dangerous.

I was in the position a few years ago of having to explain to a distraught, in fact absolutely terrified, woman who was in immediate danger that it didn't matter how short or hairless her son was, the cut off for the bedspaces we were discussing was 10 for boys (so lower than others). She just kept pleading and emphasising that he was pre-pubescent and very small. And we were on the phone so I couldn't even make much human contact with her.

Thankfully, not my usual line of work. I think of that woman all the time. I don't know what happened to her (them).

Anyway, probably not the best place to let my irritation with the whole sector finally boil over.

Arsenic Thu 12-Feb-15 07:30:03

I wasn't blaming 'feminists' scallop. I don't like the monopoly. But I will do something positive and more constructive today.

(And I will, in fact, sign the petition, as recompense for the hijack wink)

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