Rough Week for Women

May 21, 2011Blog0 comments

My week began with a feature in the Sunday Observer about the stunted anti-trafficking strategy in Britain. As the co-ordinator of the Symposium on Women, Human Rights and Prostitution which was a year-long debate involving stakeholders from all sides of this polarised issue, I was particularly dismayed to see that things have not moved on since that symposium ended in September 2007. It is a hugely complex area, granted,and no one wants to think that hundreds if not thousands of women are chained to beds all over London and throughout this country, forced into slavery. Yet, it’s still primarily The Poppy Project enabling women to leave slavery and have a real life. Mark Townsend goes onto report that the Poppy Project has ‘had its Home Office funding withdrawn and reallocated to the Salvation Army.’

Too many projects. including the one with which I was involved, are funded for a short-term – designed to match the vision of the government, sadly.

This was followed by the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn for sex crimes and he’s still determined to prove his innocence. He’s been tried in the media already, nailed by his previous sexually violent and pestering acts, and his protest of innocence is growing weaker with every new or reiterated revelation by another woman. Regardless of what he has done this time, his reputation for being a sex pest is firmly established and he’ll find little sympathy in Riker’s Island. I wonder what it must like to be his wife? Particularly his third wife who has to rent an apartment in New York to keep up the facade of supporting him in public before she can quietly expel him back in France. He must also be a bit confused. French politicians are typically lauded for their sexual conquests. That simply doesn’t fly in New York!

That was still the start of the week. Ken Clarke, a savvy Tory and the least likely of his current comrades to be caught out by clumsy comments, was positively pummelled for making a distinction for different kinds of rape. When only 6% of reported rapes in this country are convicted, do we really need to protect men who simply admit their wrongdoing early? Is this some kind of discount for the criminal justice system as it won’t tie up legal proceedings for longer than necessary?

And it was only Wednesday.