Friday 25 November was International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls. It was also the 30 year anniversary of the fabulous ground breaking Zero Tolerance campaign.
And yet – what do we see? Prosecutions at an all time low. Continued unanswered pleas for legal representation of female victims required to testify at the trials of their assailants.
Civil legal aid for women seeking protective orders against abusers remains means tested; there’s now a dearth especially in rural areas of lawyers providing this service. So women who cannot afford to go private don’t have access to representation, advocacy or advice. Once again, poverty comprises a denial of essential services.
To compound this crisis we have watched as women’s refuges have become in some parts of Scotland mixed sex. We note that women unwilling to share their refuges with males are described as bigots who require to reframe their bigotry. Not given a space to heal, as women needing solace away from the male fists which broke their noses, smashed their jaws, their homes and their hopes.
Scotland’s women are enjoined to become inclusive and intersectional and to believe that trans identifying men can actually become women – with such a diktat, is there any wonder that misogyny and violence towards women and girls hit record figures? When even women can’t support those women like me who favour the safety and dignity some of us women favour in single sex spaces?
Those politicians and their advisors who ride roughshod over the rights and protections of Scotland’s women and girls are privileged in status, with money, resources and support systems light years above the reach of the victims I know or I knew when they were alive and those others I guess will die horribly and prematurely.
Scotland’s women’s prisons, women’s refuges, women’s wards, are populated by women who have mainly been battered and abused by men, but ridiculed and ignored by the women in power in Scotland who could have improved their lives and the futures of their daughters.
My tolerance for female politicians who surrender their sisters to a flawed ideology is zero. It will remain so until there is evidence that politicians who are legislators understand the reasons for and the meaning of safeguarding. That those politicians mainly favour trendy soundbites and mantras of doubtful provenance serves only to confirm that Scotland has gone from hero to zero in the blink of an eye.