BBC radio two featured a topic on the Jeremy Vine show today about hate crimes, and whether misandry (hate crimes towards men) should also be included in this category. Although I was very aware of other categories being reviewed such as hate to the elderly and alternative cultures such as goths and punks, I found it quite interesting to hear the two sides put to the debate.
The BBC website tells us, “The Law Commission is an independent body that that looks regularly at laws and whether they need to be updated"—(It) began its review of hate crime following a campaign by the Labour MP Stella Creasy.
She wanted misogyny to be recognised in the same way as racial or religious hatred because of the high levels of harassment that girls and women suffer.
As for why hostility against men is being included too, Home Office Minister Baroness Williams says the government always responds to what "the public and other organisations are telling us." And it appears at least some feel misandry is an issue.
She said the government wasn't telling the Law Commission to recommend that misandry be included, but was simply asking for its view on the matter.
"It may well be that particular strand is not necessary to take forward, but we are asking them to look at it," she added.
Two representatives, a male for and a female against, took turns to debate whether the government should allow misandry to be recognised in a court of law. The female was quite happy to declare all men were oppressive and sexual assault by women to men shouldn't even be a thing worth talking about and my blood boiled!
I want to focus this piece on two main points, the equality act, and hate crimes.
A new Equality Act came into force in the UK on 1 October 2010. The Act provided Britain with a new discrimination law which aims to protect individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society.
The nine main pieces of legislation that have merged are:
- The Equal Pay Act 1970
- The Sex Discrimination Act 1975
- The Race Relations Act 1976
- The Disability Discrimination Act 1995
- The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
- The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
- The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
- The Equality Act 2006, Part 2
- The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007
This piece of legislation has gone a long way in ensuring that people are protected and treated equally as a human being. That our rights are not based on the colour of our skin, a disability, or who we love.
The hate crimes act focuses on 5 demographics and can see incidents such as violence and hostility, that victims believe are caused because of them as a hate crime.
- Transgender identity
- Sexual orientation
These aspects of a person’s identity are called protected characteristics and the cps can ask for a ‘sentence uplift’ which means if found guilty the punishments will usually be increased sentences due to it being a hate crime.
What Is Being Looked At?
What the law commission are looking at now, includes whether other characteristics should be incorporated such as misogyny, alternative lifestyles and other groups who may receive discrimination.
I am sure most women would be pleased to know that if they were taking someone to court over a sexual attack that was deemed motivated by a hate crime, that they would receive a longer sentence. However, it has raised the question that should misandry be incorporated too?
There were 12,130 sexual offences towards men reported in England and Wales in 2016-17, compared with 3,819 in 2006-07, said the Office for National Statistics. That has more than tripled! Andy Connolly, from Survivors UK, said in a BBC interview that victims were beginning to feel they would be believed but there was still a "massive wall of silence." A 2015 survey estimated about 96% of offences against males go unreported. To put that in context one in five women in England and Wales have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16, according to official analysis of violent crime figures.
The latest release of findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales shows more than 510,000 women—an estimated 3.1% of all women aged 16 to 59—experienced some type of sexual assault in the past year.
Is Misandry a Thing?
In a white straight-male dominated world it is hard to believe they have anything to complain about, but it would be unfair to say that sexual assault perpetrated by females doesn't happen. While men lear and cat call from building sites or in the gym, I have heard reports of women grope men in night clubs and work spaces because they feel the can, or it's funny, or it's just Tim, he likes it. (No Tims were assaulted in the making of this post).
Can we just make it really simple using the information provided above?
A hate crime shouldn't have to be categorised by the gender of the person raising the allegation. If a crime has been committed, either a hate crime or a sexual assault, they should both be sentenced because of the crime committed not because the buzzword of the week gets you extra time in prison.
The statistics that we have available are not accurate. There are many people, male and female, that have not come forward about assaults that have happened to them for many reasons. For a man, I believe it is harder. I can see as a female that there is still a lot of stigma and shame. Men are supposed to be stronger, confident and in control, not let a woman assault them—either verbally or physically, so they are afraid of what their friends or family will say. They suffer in silence. We need to make sure that these victims are treated with respect and dignity and the abusers punished for their crimes. It should not matter what gender they are.
Should misogyny and misandry be a hate crime? Possibly yes. But are we at risk of expanding the brackets so wide that we leave a few groups behind who are already a minority?
Will all victims eventually be a victim of a hate crime?
Can we separate an abuser from hating one person to abusing that person because they hate the whole gender? Probably not. It will be harder to prove on one allegation.
Why should others have to suffer to prove a point?