As Melanie Onn MP said in parliament, women will not achieve equality until both actual violence, and the constant threat of violence — wherever we go, whatever we are doing, and however we are dressed — are fully addressed as the uniquely gendered issues, and often crimes, that they truly are. As Walthamstow Labour MP Stella Creasy told parliament: “By categorising sexual harassment as a hate crime, we would change the conversation so that it was not about what women need to do to avoid it.” As with the most extreme gendered violence, so it is with the constant lower-level harassment, abuse and threats — we must not expect women to live less full lives in an un-winnable battle to avoid male violence. Instead, we must teach men that their intimidating, inappropriate, threatening and violent actions are the problem, and if we are serious about the value of women, we must insure that there are consequences. A law giving police the power to investigate such behaviour as hate crimes motivated by misogyny would do exactly that. In Nottingham, it already has.
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