Misogyny is by definition the ‘Dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women’. (1) It seems logical therefore that any crime found to have been committed due to a woman’s sex would be classified as a hate crime, but interestingly this is not currently the case. Offences motivated by prejudice of disability, race, religion, trans identity or sexual orientation are recognised as hate crimes,(2) however sex is not included and acts of misogyny remain unmonitored across the country.
Labour MP Stella Creasy has taken a stand against this omission by putting forward an amendment to the Voyeurism Bill that would make misogyny an aggravating factor in the instance of a crime. (3) This vital inclusion will allow it to be considered by a judge during sentencing and importantly record and monitor its prevalence.
In a landmark move in 2016, Nottinghamshire Police began their own pilot scheme that enabled women to report instances of misogyny under their Hate Crime policy. Officers from within the scheme commented that the policy successfully allowed them to map the scale of the issue, serving as vital operational information if the crimes suddenly escalate. (4)
Sexual harassment is a silent crime that only goes unnoticed because of the power it is given. There is no other crime committed with such staggering prevalence against a group that is allowed to continue unrecorded. Across the UK, an overwhelming 64% of women of all ages have been sexually harassed in public places, with 35% experiencing unwanted sexual touching. (5)
It is clear that just being a woman is correlated with these offences, creating a culture of fear where perpetrators have felt confident that they will not be held accountable. We have seen a seismic shift of women speaking out about their experiences with #MeToo and #TimesUp but these voices must now move to influence the rule of law. Without formally recognising that this is a problem, we cannot begin to change it.
Mary Mason, CEO said - “It is absolutely the right time for misogyny to be made a hate crime, sexual harassment and objectification of women’s bodies is demeaning to women, causes harm and has no place in society, where women rightly expect to be safe. We need strong legal remedies in place. Misogyny is male privilege which belittles women and girls every day in the UK.”
At Solace we believe that no person should feel unsafe just because of who they are. Our laws have a duty to protect us and it is vital that our government take a stand and send a strong message that women are being heard and that hate and prejudice is never acceptable.
The amendment will be debated in parliament on Wednesday 5th September. Make your voice heard: speak to your MP and use the hashtag #handsoffamd7.