Archives for posts with tag: Violence against Women

 

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Scottish Review of Books 13 August 2016 http://www.scottishreviewofbooks.org/no-belles-de-jour/

WHILST history may be one of the oldest scholarly disciplines, it has, until more recent times mostly averted its gaze from that other so-called ‘oldest profession’, prostitution, particularly in the Scottish context. However, as Louise Settle’s history of prostitution in Edinburgh and Glasgow in the early twentieth century shows, it can hugely benefit from the historian’s scrutiny.  The continuing and often heated contemporary debates about whether or how to regulate, legislate or obliterate prostitution in Scotland and elsewhere are almost as vigorous as those dealing with the ‘moral panic’ of ‘white slavery’ and the plight of ‘fallen women’ in the nineteenth century. The arguments among twenty-first century commentators centre on whether women involved in prostitution are victims of abuse in an unequal world or free agents making legitimate economic choices. Resolution looks a long way off. They might be missing a trick. Settle’s detailed and well researched book provides a welcome addition to our knowledge of this long standing and complex social issue, inviting us to look backwards to see how we got to here.

debunking the myth of free choice by so-called ‘happy hookers

Settle maintains that working class women’s involvement in prostitution in the early twentieth century was a survival strategy when the social, economic and cultural odds were heavily stacked against them.  Prostitution may have been a ‘choice’ but it was one made in Scotland at a time when the available options for many women were severely constrained by prevailing economic conditions and social norms governing women’s behaviour. While the risks were high, the alternatives were worse. Prostitution in Edinburgh and Glasgow in the early twentieth century was not glamorous. There are no belles de jour here.

The growth of clandestine prostitution based around Italian ice cream cafes and fish and chip shops in the 1920s and 1930s is a surprising revelation.

Research into police, court, prison and voluntary social service agency records reveals the reality of prostitution from the accounts of those charged with arresting, prosecuting and reforming the women involved. However Settle’s approach pulls off a remarkable coup. Despite the public nature of her sources and the inherent bias likely in accounts of women’s lives mediated through public officials, the reality of lives in prostitution emerges. A collective biography approach to previously hidden life stories provides much needed insight into the women’s lives. We see their reasons for working in prostitution, its impact and how this was often compounded by the efforts of those determined to prevent it.  We also hear the women’s loud resistance screaming through.

‘Khaki fever’ led to a boost around the docks and railway stations in Glasgow and Edinburgh during the First World War.

The distinctions between the European, English and Scottish legal systems’ approach to prostitution in the nineteenth century clarify the roots of the particularly Scottish approach which emerged in the early twentieth century.  The growth of state regulation of prostitution across Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century was closely linked to efforts to reduce the spread of venereal disease. While many European countries adopted the French system of licensing state-regulated brothels, England regulated prostitution in order to control the spread of the diseases among men in the armed forces. A series of Contagious Diseases Acts passed in England in the 1860s made compulsory the genital examination of women suspected of being ‘common prostitutes’ working in naval ports and garrison towns.  Prior to their eventual repeal in 1886, things had begun to take a moral turn with the 1885 Criminal Amendment Act which responded to British public opinion seething with ‘moral panic’ following reports of the sexual exploitation and abduction of young girls into ‘white slavery’.  The Act raised the age of consent from thirteen to sixteen, made brothel-keeping illegal across Britain while the National Vigilance Association (NVA) in England and the Scottish NVA (SNVA) were charged with upholding and enforcing the new morality laws. However policing remained the key mechanism for tackling prostitution in Scotland.

The 1892 Burgh Police (Scotland) Act and individual Scottish city acts criminalized outdoor prostitution by ‘street walkers’ and ‘common prostitutes’ ‘loitering or importuning for the purposes of prostitution’ and stipulating fines and imprisonment. Licensing laws targeted publicans and others using their premises for prostitution and the 1902 Immoral Traffic (Scotland) Act targeted men who trafficked women into prostitution,  acted as pimps or ‘bullies’ or lived off ‘immoral’ earnings, imposed penalties of up to six months imprisonment and later introduced flogging for these offences.

The Scottish system included cautioning whereby a woman was only arrested after being caught importuning three times. Thereafter she was deemed a ‘common prostitute’. Police made a distinction between the ‘common’ or ‘hardened prostitute’ regarded as a public nuisance who were dealt with in the courts and younger women seen as ‘victims’ or ‘amateurs’ with the potential to be diverted from prostitution. Settle found a degree of sympathy among police officers for young women whose difficult life circumstances drew them into prostitution and whom officers judged as having the potential for change. In 1907, the option of probation became available to courts and with the discretion available to police on the streets of Edinburgh and Glasgow, probation officers and the SNVA and the Magdalene Asylums took the opportunity to ‘reform’ the lives and characters of young women deemed to be at risk. This informal ‘penal-welfare’ system diverted women either to a closed institution or subjected them to close supervision by a probation officer in the community. They aimed to teach young women to conduct themselves in a manner more aligned with middle class morality and expectations of femininity in their working and private lives. While some women undoubtedly responded positively to this approach, others fiercely resisted the interference and all attempts at ‘reform’.

Women were ill-served by an unequal society which targeted them for being the wrong kind of woman whilst turning a blind eye to the men who paid for sex with them.

Who were the women caught up in this system? Unsurprisingly they were working class and experiencing considerable hardship.  Information about their backgrounds shows that many came from poor families and either struggled to find work or survived on very low wages. Once involved in prostitution the women suffered from extreme ill health, abuse, exploitation, homelessness and destitution; they often lived chaotic lives and many died young. Many were single mothers, deserted by their husbands, working to feed their children and avoid the poorhouse. There were many who attempted suicide, or were charged with drunkenness and often being ‘drunk in charge of a child’, breach of the peace, assault or theft; they were frequently in and out of prison, poorhouses, reform homes and hospitals.  In poor working class communities prostitution was regarded simply as a fact of life and a way to make some money – women were not unduly stigmatised. They took whatever paid work was available and in straitened circumstances prostitution could temporarily make ends meet despite the risks.

Prostitution was indeed a ‘choice’ for women desperately short of options.

This pragmatism and sheer determination was at some remove from the opinions of the moralisers and law enforcers who condemned prostitutes as having pathological character flaws. The exploration of the social geography of prostitution in Edinburgh and Glasgow charting the sites known for street prostitution and the location of brothels in both cities is revealing. In Edinburgh, street prostitution was traditionally centred on the Old Town and the Mound, in Glasgow around High Street and Glasgow Green. However by the early twentieth century women moved to the expanding commercial and entertainment centres of the cities to meet new demand. ‘Khaki fever’ led to a boost around the docks and railway stations in Glasgow and Edinburgh during the First World War. The number of brothels also increased during this period with women soliciting in the streets then taking men to flats or private rooms rented by the hour thus blurring the distinctions between outdoor and indoor prostitution. The police seemed unable to deter women from working in the city centres or to make many inroads in closing down brothels or prosecuting pimps. Settle shows that the relationships between the women working in prostitution, brothel keepers and ‘bullies’ was complex. Women working as prostitutes might rent rooms in their own houses for other women to use.  While some women had cruel, controlling and exploitative pimps, others had husbands who played no part as pimps.

Women were ill-served by an unequal society which targeted them for being the wrong kind of woman whilst turning a blind eye to the men who paid for sex with them.

The growth of clandestine prostitution based around Italian ice cream cafes and fish and chip shops in the 1920s and 1930s is a surprising revelation. So too are the links between prostitution and the new craze for dance clubs. This was highlighted by the high profile trial and conviction of Kosmo club owner Asher Barnard and his two managers in 1933 for using the venue to profit from prostitution. The trial shed light on prostitution’s ability to embrace changing technology, survive the economic downturn, capitalise on changing public mores, and expand its reach in novel ways. The Club at 20 Swinton Row in the east end of Edinburgh was one of a number in the city where men could ‘book out’ a ‘dance partner’ for thirty shillings for the whole evening by telephone – the origin of the term ‘call girl’. Telephone calls to a network of taxi drivers, hotels, lodging houses, or flats swung into action to whisk the man and his ‘dance partner’ off somewhere to have sex. Women witnesses in the trial described being coerced into being ‘booked out’, having no access to the telephone to make their own arrangements or control the bookings. Earnings from the ‘booking out’ system however far exceeded those working only as dance partners.  Settle argues that earning differentials, lack of alternative employment, coercion and the economic challenges women faced reveal how problematic the notion of ‘choice’ in prostitution at the time was.

Prostitution is described as the oldest ‘profession’ but its roots lie in one of the world’s oldest oppressions – women’s.

Prostitution is described as the oldest ‘profession’ but its roots lie in one of the world’s oldest oppressions – women’s. ‘Profession’ implies choice. While its academic purpose is clear and important, the glimpses this book provides into the life of women is where it shines while debunking the myth of free choice by so-called ‘happy hookers’.  Early twentieth-century Scotland blamed the women for making bad choices yet failed to address the harm it caused or why men wanted to rent their bodies in the first place. Abuse victims or free agents? Probably both.  Prostitution was indeed a ‘choice’ for women desperately short of options; while dance clubs and brothels may have been preferable to the street, women often made the best of it despite the risks.  This complicated clandestine world was challenging to police. Women were ill-served by an unequal society which targeted them for being the wrong kind of woman whilst turning a blind eye to the men who paid for sex with them.

Sex for sale in Scotland – Prostitution in Edinburgh and Glasgow, 1900-1939

Louise Settle

Edinburgh University Press, £70, ISBN 978-1474400008, PP218
Read more at http://srb.swddev.com/no-belles-de-jour/#D8KxlChgsdtIG3jA.99
Read more at http://www.scottishreviewofbooks.org/no-belles-de-jour/#2msQg3geF5EpEP6O.99

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Colm Dempsey’s Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition, now in its tenth year of touring, visited Scotland in March 2014.

In an interview with GlasgowAnni, Dubliner Colm describes how the Exhibition came about and the impact it has had on worldwide audiences over the years.

Colm’s interest in domestic abuse was instigated by his feelings of helplessness as a friend and as a police officer when his former (and first) girlfriend disclosed to him about the domestic abuse she was subjected to by her Garda officer husband.

In this extract Colm tells how that love story inspired the creation of 365.

The impact on the audiences who have seen 365 has often been profound.

Listen  as Colm tells the story of one woman for whom seeing the exhibition was life changing.

365 in Dumbarton Women's Aid Refuge

365 in Dumbarton Women’s Aid Refuge

365 in Dumbarton Women's Aid Refuge

365 in Dumbarton Women’s Aid Refuge

Colm Dempsey’s Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition, now in its tenth year of touring, visited Dumbarton Women’s Refuge as part of their International Women’s Day 2014 celebrations.

In an interview with GlasgowAnni, Dubliner Colm tells how the Exhibition came about and the impact it has had over the years.

Colm Dempsey

The idea for the exhibition came to Colm after meeting the late Ellen Pence during a visit to the world famous Duluth Domestic Violence Intervention Project in Minnesota http://www.theduluthmodel.org/ and touring the San Diego Family Justice Centre http://www.sandiego.gov/sandiegofamilyjusticecenter/ in 2001. Back at his job as a Garda officer felt that Ireland was ‘centuries behind the U.S. in its approach to domestic violence.   It was like going back in time to the eighteenth century’.

‘Ireland was centuries behind the U.S. in its approach to domestic violence.

It was like going back in time to the eighteenth century.’

Colm’s visit the U.S. in the first place was instigated by his feelings of helplessness as a friend and as a police officer when his former (and first) girlfriend disclosed to him about the domestic abuse she was subjected to by her Garda officer husband. Colm describes how his friend had nowhere to turn and how her difficult situation was made much worse by her husband’s position in the force, describing him as ‘a criminal in uniform’, Colm wanted to know ‘how to do my job better’.

‘a criminal in uniform’

The posters Colm brought back from the States formed the germ of an idea that saw the first 365 exhibition open in Dundalk Museum in 2004 with financial support from the Irish Department of Justice and the attendance of two senior Government Ministers. The exhibition was endorsed by Tanya Brown the sister of Nicole Brown who was murdered by O.J. Simpson.  Tanya wrote the foreword to the exhibition brochure. This created a media storm and generated a great deal of publicity for 365.

Among the visitors to the exhibition was Jan MacLeod of the Women’s Support Project in Glasgow and an invitation to visit Scotland soon followed.

‘I blame Jan MacLeod for everything’

‘I blame Jan MacLeod for everything’ jokes Colm who has since taken his exhibition all over Scotland returning several times to raise awareness of violence against women in Fife, the Western Isles, Glasgow, Edinburgh and West Dunbartonshire. Colm is impressed by Scotland’s national approach to tackling violence against women and thinks people here ‘get it’.

The exhibition has toured the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, has visited thirteen countries to date including U.S.,Canada, Cyprus, Russia and Taiwan and has the prospect of a visit to Norway and a return to Scotland in 2014. Having seen so many different national approaches to violence against women Colm’s view that Scotland is the most advanced of the UK jurisdictions is encouraging. Ireland, in his view, has a a bit of catching up to do.

The impact on the audiences who have seen 365 has often been profound. The visual impact of the at times very hard-hitting posters campaigning against domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault and child sexual abuse can be disturbing. The many different approaches and designs speak loudly of each country’s priorities and courage in confronting people with such difficult issues. Visiting the exhibition can be demanding for the visitor and comes with a health warning to alert them to what may disturb. Colm recalled the story of one woman from Dumbarton for whom seeing the exhibition was life changing. She told Colm during 365’s second visit to the area that she had been inspired by the exhibition to rethink her life and had since left her abusive partner.  Now happy and settled with a new partner, she put it all down to that first eye opening visit to 365.

Exhibiting 365 in the Women’s Refuge in Dumbarton was a gamble for Colm and organisers Moira Swanson, Chair of the Refuge Management Committee and Refuge Worker Janine Jardine. According to Moira, ‘All of those who attended commented on the visual impact of the exhibition’. Hosting it there also raised the profile of the valuable work being done by Dumbarton District Women’s Aid. ‘Members of the public and local politicians who visited said they didn’t realise all the services offered by West Dunbartonshire Council and also the range of services provided by Women’s Aid…the “not just refuge thing! “’, Moira added, highlighting a common underestimation of what Women’s Aid Groups actually do in addition to running refuges.

local politicians who visited said they didn’t realise… the range of services provided by Women’s Aid…the “not just refuge thing!”

Moira Swanson,  Chair, Dumbarton District Women’s Aid Management Committee 

When he is not touring with his exhibition, Colm is a researcher and Children’s Rights and Child Protection Specialist and Trainer working with  organisations across Ireland. His expertise in domestic abuse and violence against women continues to be focussed on improving the lives of children and young people experiencing domestic abuse. Happily relocated to Galway, Colm can be assured that 365 will continue to inspire people to do their jobs better, to get people talking about the unspeakable and to encourage people to speak out and get the help they need to live their lives free forever of abuse.

365 in Dumbarton Women's Aid Refuge
365 in Dumbarton Women’s Aid Refuge
Dumbarton District Women’s Aid:
CONFIDENTIAL Domestic Abuse Helpline 01389 751036

http://www.ddwa.org.uk/

Visit Violence Againsnt Women 365 International Poster Exhibition on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/groups/109391782794/

FRA report image004

Results from the world’s biggest ever survey on Violence Against Women reveal one third of women are affected.

Revealing the extent of abuse suffered by women at home, work, in public and online, results are shown at European Union and national level. Published by European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) the pan-European survey interviewed 42,000 randomly selected women (an average of 1,500 respondents per country) aged 18-74 years. Findings also show the extent of physical and sexual violence experienced by women in childhood.

These survey figures simply cannot and should not be ignored.

FRA’s survey shows that physical, sexual and psychological violence against women is an

extensive human rights abuse in all EU Member States”

                                

“The enormity of the problem is proof that violence against women does

not just impact a few women only it impacts on society every day.

Measures tackling violence against women need to be taken to a new level now.”     

FRA Director Morten Kjaerum

Findings show that

  • 33% of women ( 62 million women) have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15
  • 22% have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner
  • 5% of all women have been raped
  • Almost one in 10 women who have experienced sexual violence by a non-partner, indicate that more than one
  • perpetrator was involved in the most serious incident
  • 43% have experienced some form of psychological violence by either a current or a previous partnersuch as public humiliation; forbidding a woman to leave the house or locking her up; forcing her to watch pornography; and threats of violence.
  • 33% have childhood experiences of physical or sexual violence at the hands of an adult.
  • 12% had childhood experiences of sexual violence of which half were from men they did not know
  • 18% of women have experienced stalking since the age of 15 and 5% in the 12 months prior to the interview – a total of 9 million women
  • 21% of women who have experienced stalking said that it lasted for over 2 years
  • 11% of women have experienced inappropriate advances on social websites or have been subjected to sexually explicit emails or text (SMS) messages.
  • 20% of young women (18-29) have been victims of such cyber harassment
  • 55% of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment

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Irene Campbell 

Born: 22 March 1954 Died: 13 September 2013

Counsellor and Feminist Activist

Irene Campbell who has died at the age of 59 years was a person-centred counsellor and feminist activist who worked to end domestic abuse and violence against women.

Irene grew up in Milngavie in a large family.  The highly acclaimed work of Irene’s mother,  Scottish writer Agnes Owens, provides an insight into Irene’s early influences and the values in which she was immersed from an early age.

Having settled in the Vale of Leven, Irene joined Dumbarton District Women’s Aid in 1990.   Irene was an active member of the wider Women’s Aid movement in Scotland campaigning to bring the issue of domestic abuse into the public arena, to change public attitudes and to provide better services for women and children.

In 2003, Irene moved on to establish West Dunbartonshire Council’s CARA (Challenging and Responding to Abuse) Project. Now a person-centred counsellor, Irene specialised in working with women survivors of domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse.  Irene was one of the early pioneers in Scotland who introduced the 3-stage Trauma Model developed by American feminist psychiatrist Judith Herman into their work with women recovering from the impact of domestic abuse. Irene’s work combined trauma-informed counselling with new models of advocacy also developed in the US for use with domestic abuse victims and survivors.  The subsequent success of these approaches has led to their widespread use in many specialist violence against women services around the country, and to their incorporation in new methods of policing and prosecuting domestic abuse in Scotland.

Irene Campbell developed the CARA service as one of the key domestic abuse support agencies in West Dunbartonshire – an area with high rates of domestic abuse.  Irene was at her best listening to women with  kindness and a sensitive professionalism that was often rare in their lives.  Her collaborative and training work with a wide range of local support agencies including social work and housing, health, the criminal justice system and the police has gone on to make a significant contribution to improving local multi-agency responses to all forms of violence against women.

Irene was a kind, generous and loving woman, who always supported people who were being treated unfairly or cruelly.  She was razor sharp in seeing and cutting through red tape.  Irene’s passions for her garden, for art, photography, music, reading and the  Scottish landscape were reflected in the home and life she shared with her extended family.

Irene Campbell leaves a great personal and professional legacy in the life she lived,  in the body of work she created and in the difference she made to many people’s lives.

Irene is survived by her husband Gordon and her son Calum

 

Scottish Review 17 September 2013

Nick Smithers (SR 10 September) rightly highlights the plight of male victims of domestic abuse in Scotland, although I have never maintained that domestic abuse is exclusively perpetrated by men against women. While women comprise the majority of victims in Scotland and throughout the world, I fully acknowledge that men are also victims of domestic abuse (as the harrowing account by a male survivor, SR 12 September, showed) and that it can occur in same-sex relationships.

To suggest that the reticence of male victims to come forward is the result of a false ‘public story’ about women’s inequality in a service sector dominated by violence against women services is, however, stretching things a bit. The United Nations recognises that domestic abuse and all forms of violence against women are both cause and consequence of women’s inequality. The Scottish Government does too. The debate about male victims of domestic abuse needs to mature beyond gender mud-slinging around that tired old binary, ‘who is the most victimised – men or women?’. What is important is to understand what is going on and to prevent it.

The growth of specialist violence against women services in Scotland is due in the main to women’s public activism, campaigning for services and research activity over the last 35 years. In that time, workers and researchers have developed sensitive, ethical and robust methodologies which encourage women and children to come forward and tell their stories.

As a result of listening to women and children, we have a more nuanced understanding of the complexity of domestic abuse, its calculus of harms and its impact. This has been central to the development of specialist domestic abuse services, more sensitive professional practice and increased public awareness. Police and criminal justice services are now better able to disentangle exactly who is doing what to whom when attending domestic abuse incidents, to keep victims safe and prosecute perpetrators. More victims are reporting abuse and seeking support than ever before.

Substantial public funding for domestic abuse services has been available in Scotland since 2000 and is based on the provision of a strong evidence base of statistics, what is needed and whether services are working. If large numbers of Scottish men are currently living silently in fear in their own homes that is quite simply a national disgrace. More research needs to be done to better understand their lives and why they are unable to come forward.

The experiences of those working with other excluded and marginalised groups may have lessons for those seeking to end the isolation of abused men. As with domestic abuse services for women, the need for Mr Smithers’ organisation and for the Men’s Advice Line may continue to grow alongside an increased understanding of the extent of the problem among Scottish men and how they may be supported.

However, last year’s Scottish police figures still tell us an important public story. While 10,000 male victims is a shocking figure by any measure, we should not forget the remaining 50,000 female victims and the many uncounted and innocent children involved in those incidents and their aftermath. That’s a gendered crime story in my book.

Anni Donaldson is a writer and visiting research fellow at Strathclyde University

Testosterone Democracy? aka Patriarchy.

This may be a good time to reflect on some of our ‘cherished myths’ and draw attention to Scotland’s national tendency to construct misleading narratives about the kind of society we have. Kate Clanchy has argued that it is not true that ‘we’re all socialist in Scotland and we’re all terribly equal’.  Mike Small’s democratic testosterone courses through the limbs of Scotland’s own body politic. The term ‘patriarchy’ may be useful here.

The constellation of professional middle class networks operating within the Scottish political, legal, press and corporate establishments are essentially patriarchal networks which continue to be largely assymetrical in terms of the gender of the key players.

Viewed through the gender lens, male-dominated cartels are visible within the Scottish broadcast media, sport – especially football (spotted many women in the Rangers story recently – either as protagonists or analyst?) and golf (have women been admitted as members of the R&A yet?), organised religion (more of that later) and local government (only one in four Scottish councilors are women). Calling Scotland patriarchal could be a way of telling a different story about ourselves. Let’s look.

Formerly used to describe patrilineal clans or tribes, the term patriarchy was revised in the 1970s to describe social structures which maintain the dominance of the male gender. Patriarchal power was conferred through a matrix of substructures including gender, able-bodied masculinity, birth, inheritance, race/ethnicity, religion, heterosexuality, political, legal and economic power, military might, geography and so on. Patriarchy requires the cooperation of those privileged by association – including women. Patriarchal values were founded on 19th-century ideals of women’s place in the home and their role in society.

In Scotland a strong association grew up between national identity and a particular form of masculinity and continues in Scottish public and private life and culture. Although such notions were often at odds with the reality of most people’s lives, they persist in contemporary Scottish public discourse and private attitudes.

Since the 1970s, legislation and social policy have endeavoured to correct inequalities based on gender, race and ethnicity, sexuality, disability and faith. Meanwhile, Scottish corporate and municipal power structures continue to be male-dominated.

Equality for women in Scotland favours better-off, educated, full-time employed women. There remains a 14% pay differential between men’s and women’s full-time hourly pay and 35% between women’s part-time and men’s full-time hourly rates. Women’s employment remains largely concentrated in low-paid, part-time work. Occupational segregation persists. Women currently comprise two thirds of the total workforce in Scottish local government and to be under-represented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and senior management in Scotland.

Patriarchy is also present in Scottish family and community life. Toxic masculinity remains an enduring Scottish stereotype bestowed with perverse celebrity. Violence in Scotland is essentially a ‘man thing’; men are its most frequent victims and perpetrators.

Violence against women is mainly a ‘man thing’ too. Levels of domestic abuse remain high with almost 60,000 incidents reported to Scottish police last year. The majority of victims were women. Most women murdered in Scotland are killed by a current or former partner. Estimates suggest that over 100,000 children in Scotland live with domestic abuse.

Worryingly high numbers of Scottish teenagers think that using violence in an intimate relationship is sometimes acceptable; 17% of the young women had experienced violence or abuse by a boyfriend. Scotland has a very low conviction rate for rape cases with only around 3% of reported cases resulting in a conviction. More than half of Scottish adults who had experienced serious sexual assault since the age of 16 were assaulted by their partner with over 91% saying the offender(s) was male and 7% saying the offender(s) was female. Studies indicate that 90-95% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by men, often someone known to and trusted by the child.

Our national churches struggle with challenges to patriarchal norms. The Church of Scotland’s collective knickers were in a right twist over the ordination of gay clergy, the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland continues to be in a fankle about what to do about priests who are child sexual abusers (it was really very simple: this is a crime and should have been reported to the police); sexual shenanigans within its allegedly celibate priesthood (again, if it’s sexual harassment, assault or rape, these are crimes, report them. If it’s between consenting adults then Your Holinesses really do need to re-examine your rule of celibacy); past cruelties perpetrated by priests and nuns in children’s homes (the truth is thankfully coming out there in recent prosecutions). Oh, they don’t like same-sex marriage either.

According to the polls there is a substantial gender gap in support of independence with more men in favour than women. Groups on both sides of the independence debate campaigning to engage women are using gendered arguments which reflect the reality of Scottish society. Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson found that women need to know that there would be college places for their children and high quality care for older people and they deserve to know if there will be jobs for them and their families.

Jeanne Freeman of the Women for Independence Group wants to play her part ‘in persuading other women, that not only is an independent Scotland possible, but that it’s our best opportunity to realise our hopes and dreams for our families and communities’.

According to the Scottish Women’s Budget Group ‘women are frequently disadvantaged by policies that do not recognise their different realities and experiences, including unequal pay, roles at work and home, and gender-based violence’. Women are also more likely to be concerned than men about the effects of economic downturn on themselves and their families. Are men not concerned about these things too? If these concerns are marginalised as ‘women’s issues’ in the independence debate, post-referendum Scotland, whatever the outcome, is likely to be the same old patriarchal business as usual.

The personal is political and vice versa. For everyone.

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