Still waiting for misogyny to be a hate crime
In December 2018 Manchester’s Misogyny is Hate campaign organised the rally of ‘1000 voices.’ Whilst Greater Manchester Police (GMP) failed to attend, the campaign has continued working towards making misogyny a hate crime. I spoke to third year Geography student Jess, and first year History and Politics student Hannah to find out what they’ve been up to in the year since this rally.
Misogyny is Hate is part of the Greater Manchester branch of Citizens which is a “community organisation that uses testimony and people’s experiences as the basis of change.” From the testimonies of women and girls it was decided that it would be beneficial for misogyny to be recognised as a hate crime. In 2018 the University of Manchester’s Misogyny is Hate campaign was launched and the group have been working towards their goal in Greater Manchester for the past two years.
Jess explained that you “can only solve the problem by naming it, and misogyny is literally what the problem is.” Part of the problem is that it is so normalised that it’s often accepted instead of being spoken about, which Hannah believes is “not the attitude we should be having.” Making misogyny a hate crime enables the police to record where these incidences are occurring so “they can see where crimes are taking place” and direct their resources appropriately. Jess and Hannah gave me an example in Nottingham where misogyny has been a hate crime since 2016. They “recognised people were experiencing misogyny near building sites,” and instead of arresting perpetrators, “they contacted the organisation and did an awareness [event],” to focus on education and raising awareness about the experiences of women. A study in Nottinghamshire showed there was “overwhelming support for its implementation nationwide.” Jess and Hannah hope that Greater Manchester will take this success and do the same.
In September, Manchester hosted representatives of the Law Commission of England and Wales to review legislation around hate crime. They heard from women’s experiences of misogyny in Greater Manchester including “xenophobic misogyny, anti-disability misogyny [and] racist misogyny” which highlighted that misogyny is an intersectional issue and all these instances “intersect with the fact these people are women.” The outcome from this consultation is due to come out early in 2020, and both Hannah and Jess are eagerly waiting.
When talking about policy and legislation it can be easy to lose sight of what misogyny actually is, and what it would mean for it to be a hate crime. Hannah explained that “it’s victim based rather then perpetrator based” meaning if the victim views an instance as misogyny it should be treated as such. However, for “something to be a misogyny hate crime, it has to be a crime to begin with.” But if something happened “that is not a crime, but is due to my gender, I can report that to the police so they can record that” to provide the police with a better picture of where these incidences are occurring.
The members of Misogyny Is Hate don’t stop at campaigning and working to change legislation but are also inspiring young women and girls. Through Greater Manchester Citizens they have carried out school visits to discuss a range of topics including “deconstructing gender, how to run an intersectional campaign” among others. As well as using their degrees to highlight women’s issues in different areas like discussing that climate change is a gendered issue.
For now, misogyny is still not recognised as a hate crime in Greater Manchester but I’m sure the campaign will continue to put pressure on those who can make it happen.
For more information head over to their new website: https://www.misogynyishate.com/
Misogyny is Hate will be a flagship policy for this year’s Reclaim the Night (20th of February 2020) and will have a block near the front of the march. If you’re marching feel free to join them and show your support of this campaign.
Misogyny is Hate is also spreading the word among students about consent workshops run by Odd Arts to encourage their participation. Odd Arts is a theatrical company which aims to challenge attitudes through applied theatre, these workshops will be between the 24th and 28th of February.
Misogyny Is Hate has also partnered with FuseTV creating a video to raise awareness of the campaign. Watch it on the FuseTV Manchester Youtube channel.