George Ferguson turned up at the One Billion Women Rising event in Bristol, where he was interviewed (see video I took). He was lacklustre, mealy-mouthed and weak (I am being very polite in my descriptions). He believes the focus of the council is to “highlight” violence against women in council offices with notices “about it everywhere” and staff being “pro-active” in reporting DV. The council will be implementing £35 million worth of cuts. How’s that going to have an impact women experiencing violence?
From a Cutting Women Out in Bristol
43,340 women in Bristol are likely to be raped or sexually abused at some point in their lifetime
55,000 women in Bristol are likely to experience domestic violence in their lifetime
With government attacks along with local government cuts the impact will be make things o much worse women experiencing violence in the home. Attacks on benefits, attacks on legal aid, attacks on housing, attacks on support services and refuges. This will create more powerlessness and vulnerability and more likely to trapped in a violent relationship.
What is becoming clear, as the damage of the recession and the austerity cuts acquire firmer contours, is that the impact of job losses and benefits, alone, presented another serious obstacle for those suffering domestic abuse and trying to leave violent situations – the cuts to domestic violence charities and shelters, in addition to the wider cuts in criminal justice and health have severely exacerbated the situation. It is time for the government to address this as a priority, and, in turn, recognise how the violence of austerity has already warped too many lives.
Ferguson’s speech neglected to say anything about challenging violence against women… along with campaigning against violence… it’s a lot more than just about highlighting it. It’s about support, solidarity and education. Reminds me when a group of us challenged Boris Johnson over rape crisis centres in London.
It also exposes Ferguson’s lack of political understanding, nothing more than a right-wing populist opportunist, his speech was awash with mealy-mouth sentiments, which do nothing to highlight and challenge violence against women.