The Government are literally strip-mining public services. Local authorities have already endured a 40% cut in funding in the last five years, and more cuts are in the pipeline. Unfortunately, often it is women who are the first to suffer. Jeremy Corbyn’s recent “Working With Women” report pointed out how “70% of the cuts have fallen” upon them.
In our unequal and still persistently sexist society, women experiencing domestic and sexual violence have been further aggrieved by the ongoing affects of austerity. Legal aid cuts have made it even more difficult for women trying to escape violence, while service cuts has led to the closure of huge numbers of womens refuges.
But while women’s ability to survive such abuse is continually being eroded, lucrative developments that profit from such inequality are thriving. Hence the frontpage news in the Leicester Mercury that our city centre may soon be hosting its fifth lap-dancing club (October 13).
Labour Group leader from Northampton Borough Council, Danielle Stone, despite being a Blairite and having expressed opposition to Corbyn’s opposition to austerity, is at least able to explain to the media how strip clubs work to “normalise the commodification of women and the sale of women’s bodies for the gratification of men” (July 26, 2014).
So really it should be a no-brainer that our Labour Council should be taking the correct stance of eradicating the scourge of strip clubs full-stop.
Sexism should be opposed at every given opportunity. Data from the Government’s Office of National Statistics show that women are three times as likely to have been sexually assaulted over the preceding year. Inequality still persists to a shocking degree, and 20% of women report having been sexually assaulted since the age of 16, compared to 3.6% of men.
Although more men are murdered each year, very few of these are actually killed by their partners or ex-partners — 23 in the last year, out of total death count of 343.
For women, however, the likelihood of being murdered by a partner or ex-partner is extremely high. 85 of the 183 women who were killed last year were murdered by their partners or ex-partners. This demonstrates exactly why it is so important to oppose all cuts to public services, particularly those that help women escape from domestic violence.
What we need now are politicians who are ready to pick up the mantle of the Campaign Against Domestic Violence, which played a vital role in convincing every major trade union in Britain to adopt a national policy against domestic violence.
Our politicians must show an unstinting opposition to all cuts in sexual and domestic violence services, argue the case for a huge expansion in the number of women’s refuges, and commit to a mass council house building programme in order to make it possible for women to leave violent partners or domestic violence.
This letter was emailed to the Leicester Mercury on 13th October.