'I've experienced the damaging impact of misogyny': West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin and Leeds politicians react as House of Lords vote misogyny in as hate crime
Pressure is growing to make misogyny a hate crime in England and Wales after the House of Lords handed the Government a number of defeats in its Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill– including voting misogyny in as a hate crime.
It is a step that has been met with joy among women's safety leaders who have been calling for the change.
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"I am delighted because I was really deflated in December when it appeared it wouldn't be brought in but the lords have been leaders and realised that is a travesty."
The Bill now goes back to the Commons for MPs to have their say before returning once more to the House of Lords and Ms Lowe believes it is time we move away from the attitude of victim blaming.
"We know how to keep ourselves safe as women. We know that we are potential victims every time we step outside our front door. We know that some people out there view women as second class citizens." she said. "We don't need people to tell us, we don't need men to tell us how to stay safe. We need the people in power, with the resources to act in our defence to support us in making the world a safer place"
In survery conducted last year Leeds Women's Aid found that 97 per cent of respondents felt that simply ‘being a woman’ affects their personal safety in Leeds. A further 81 per cent said they felt unsafe as a result of men's behaviour.
Chief Executive Nik Peasgood has welcomed the House of Lords call but feels it must not stop there.
"We're really pleased because it is another step in legislation to say that violence against women and girls is not to be tolerated.
"It won't get rid of the problem but it acknowledges that it shouldn't be allowed and is a criminal offence.
"We can't take our foot off the pedal and we need to transform the conversation away from how women can make themselves safer because if I am attacked then it is not me who has made myself unsafe. It is the person who has attacked me who has made me unsafe."
And the Mayor urged MPs to vote for misogyny to become a hate crime when they get the chance to do so again.
“I, along with so many women across the country, have experienced the damaging impact of misogyny." she said "That’s why, as the first female Metro Mayor, I made it a priority to ensure misogyny is recorded in West Yorkshire, and it has been since December."
If officially voted in the law change would enable judges to impose stronger penalties if prejudice against women is proved to be the motivation, and would also require the police to record whether crimes were motivated by a hatred of someone’s sex or gender.
For Mayor Brabin such a step is vital.
“I believe we all have a duty to ensure we are doing all we can to protect women and girls and I would urge all Members of Parliament to consider the difference they can make in ensuring misogyny becomes a hate crime,” she said.
“For too long, misogynistic comments in particular, have been normalised in society, often providing a platform for more serious offences. That has to stop and we can be part of that lasting change."
One step taken towards making Leeds and West Yorkshire safer has been the Ask for Angela scheme and Deputy Mayor Lowe feels it is equally vital that men and women work together to ensure a safer tomorrow.
"We know that there are many many many men out there who are part of the solution, who are allies and want to keep us safe." she said "We are their mothers, sisters, daughters, their friends. They want women safe and they don't want to live in a society were women are second class citizens."
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