Make Misogyny A Hate Crime
In the UK today, ⅔ of girls have experienced unwanted sexual attention in a public place, this is why misogyny should be made a hate crime - to help protect all women from gender based violence.
A hate crime is defined as: “Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based upon race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because the person is transgender.” However, a hate crime currently cannot be based upon gender, so if a woman recieves unwanted sexual attention, she cannot go to the police to report a hate crime, which in turn means crimes motivated by hostility to women are not recorded, investigated or persecuted as such.
The issue is important today because the number of female homicide victims is at the highest rate in fourteen years, and one in three women say they have to take daily steps to protect themselves from harassment, which in turn restricts their own freedom. Because of the internet, new vectors of abuse have been aimed at the women of today. For example, 46% of women globally have reported online abuse and this has a resounding effect on mental health and confidence in women. Women from minorities are especially at risk because misogyny does not have hate crime status, this is because of a poor response from public services.
Making misogyny a hate crime would improve the lives of women all over the UK, and help them to remove some of the restrictions upon their freedoms. It would mean police forces were able to log and record incidences of hostility towards women and girls and prosecute those who perpetrated the incidents. This system would help to track, detect and prevent crimes, thus meaning that women affected were more protected by the legal system and safer to continue their lives normally.
Recently, Nottingham police became the first UK force to introduce a misogyny hate crime policy, which shows how far we’ve come in our search for justice. However, there is still a long way to go.
What you can do to help
The Law Commission is due to publish it’s consultation on the proposed legal changes in September, so we will find out if the government supports the women of this country, or if they will simply cast them aside again. There is just one month left to submit your experience, story or expertise to the Law Commission Consultation to help make the case for gender being recognised as a protected characteristic in UK hate crime laws.