Sophie Walker, Leader of the Women’s Equality Party, has released a statement on gender hate crimes
The Women’s Equality Party was set up to bring attention to the vast inequalities that still exist in communities, workplaces and homes across the UK and to make sure that our governments are working to address them.
I am appalled that events are planned this weekend to promote and support violence against women. WE strongly condemn the actions of this small group of misogynists and WE call for cross party action, working with VAWG services, police and the general public.
WE encourage men, too, to speak out against the events and ensure that there will be no attendance. Anyone thinking about attending should be aware that they risk being prosecuted for participating in activities of an organised crime group, as defined by the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, which has been incorporated into law in the United Kingdom. I will be working with police forces in those areas where events are planned to ensure proper action is taken.
WE will continue advocating for gender to be included in hate crime legislation - so that offences such as rape can be understood not only as acts of sexual abuse but also as a means of oppressing and controlling women.
Sadly, violence against women is all too common an experience for women in the UK. Every six minutes a woman is raped in the UK; yet most women in the UK do not have access to a Rape Crisis Centre.
Taking firm action against these events is essential, but we also need to look at the structural inequalities that allow these crimes to take place. Women are objectified in the media, denied economic opportunities and left out of decisions that affect their lives. Specialist services for victims of gender-based violence are underfunded and poorly commissioned. Sex and relationships education, including teaching about consent, is not provided by all schools.
WE are committed to making the UK the first gender equal society in the world - a place where these kind of events do not take place.