Misogyny Will Soon Be A Hate Crime In The UK - But Will It Make A Difference?
We spoke to london-based feminists to find out what they thought.
From autumn 2021, police forces in the UK will start recording misogyny as a hate crime; cops will soon be asked to judge whether an attack is rooted in ‘hostility based on their sex’.
The decision was made in response to the death of London woman Sarah Everard, who went missing whilst walking home on March 3rd. Her body was found a week later.
The murder shook the country, and activists wasted no time in calling for greater protections against sex-based violence. There were even calls for a curfew for men.
Now, at last, some say the government is listening. By making misogyny a hate crime, proponents argue, more women will get the justice they deserve.
Others, however, are more cynical. Sophie Fresco, the founder of advocacy group ‘Feminists Of London’, set up the organisation in the aftermath of Sarah Everard’s death. She told us that she hoped that, however tragic the murder was, it would prove to be the impetus of change. That violence against women might start to be taken more seriously. ‘A lot needs to be done,’ she said, ‘this is more than just one police chief… this needs to be made a national priority.’
She was torn on the issue of misogyny as a hate crime, telling us that whilst the government backing misogyny as a hate crime was ‘a huge victory for women’, more still needs to be done. ‘I totally understand why everyone is so sceptical,’ she told us, ‘even when laws have been put in place (in the past) prosecution rates have remained so low.’
Nonetheless, she backed the law, pointing out that, even if prosecution rates do not improve, it will at least allow better intelligence gathering and a better police response.
What is clear is that, whilst this might be a small step in the right direction, Fresco believes that more can, and should, be done to protect women in the UK.