Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

The number of women killed by violent partners has risen dramatically in a year, figures showed today.

Home Office statistics show that at least 101 women died in 2009 at the hands of a husband, boyfriend or ex-partner, up from at least 72 the year before.

The proportion of the total number of female homicide victims who were killed in domestic violence incidents also rose, from 35% to 53%.


Refuge are calling on Government to remove the postcode lottery that means 1/3 local authorities have no services for women experiencing domestic violence.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

women, rape and the criminal justice system

Only 6% of reported rapes result in a conviction and a significant number of those accused are never charged at all. And reported rapes are themselves in a minority. Figures from the Department of Health suggest that a woman is raped every 10 minutes. The vast majority – an estimated 95% of the rapes that actually take place in the UK – are never reported in the first place. Afua Hirsch, legal affairs correspondent, tells us in the guardian online on

Why is this in the news again?
Because a woman who accused her husband of rape was locked up and he was set free, when she was intimidated by him into dropping her charges. Helen Pidd's article on
"It was horrible because I knew the police officers and the solicitors believed that the rapes did happen but the CPS wanted to prosecute me for perverting the course of justice.
It was unbelievable. I remember going in and seeing my solicitor and finding out what course of action they were going to take and I was in tears coming out of the police station. I still can't get my head around the fact that the police officers and my solicitor knew damn well I had been raped and even when I rang the main CID person and said the rapes did happen as I had originally said, he said: 'I just thought it was only a matter of time before you came to me and said yes, they did happen.' Still to this day I can't get my head around it."

"Sarah" was let out of prison following a decision from Britain's
most senior judge, Lord Judge. who said there should be: “a broad measure of compassion for a woman who had already been victimised”. However, Sarah is still stuck with a criminal record - and a suspended sentence. The case against her husband has been dropped.

In 2007 I wrote about Cameron's committment to improving conviction rates and in 2005 about the way rates have got lower over the last few decades. Afua Hirsch's articles suggests that the issue of jurors attitudes contributing to this.

False complaints of rape necessarily impact upon the minds of jurors trying rape cases," a crown court judge said last year, sentencing a rape complainant to two years in jail. Jury prejudice is often cited as one of the reasons that the UK lags so far behind the rest of Europe in its rape conviction rates. In 2009, 59% of people formally charged with rape were convicted. But the majority of those pleaded guilty, with far fewer found guilty by a jury.

So, what is the Government going to do about the unfairness and low conviction rates? Well it seems likely that cuts in public services are only likely to make matters worse.

The Crown Prosecution Service says it is committed to ensuring specialist rape prosecutors continue to be available, but cuts are certain in all areas of criminal justice,

Defence barristers, whose conduct in court is for many rape victims one of the most frightening aspects of reporting the crime, are more likely to be male and less diverse as a result of the continuing cuts to legal aid. The government frequently states that protecting the diversity of the legal profession is simply not its problem.

Apart from those criminalised because their rape allegations are not believed,women otherwise involved in crime are often there in part because of experiences of rape and violence. one third of all women offenders are the victims of rape.

In this context, it is ludicrous for the courts to think that they need to provide a strong deterrent for women who are contemplating making false allegations.

Friday, March 06, 2009


Each year, around 1 in 10 women in Britain experience rape or other violence. One in four local authorities leave female victims of violence without the specialised support they need.
Act now.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Diseased Culture

I found this poem on the Irked magazine site, which really resonates with my feelings. I get very frustrated when people compliment me on looking like I've lost weight. I don't remember people ever complimenting me when I had put weight on. I am not trying to lose weight, I don't weigh myself anymore, as I used to be obsessed with it and I'm much happier now, despite being bigger.

Diseased Culture

Looking back
on all the encouragement
and respect
and compliments
I received from others
when I was
killing myself
through starvation
It is clear
that I was not
the only

Poetry by LA Crompton

Irked magazine - Peabody cartoon....

My friend Jane is the creator of a weekly cartoon strip Peabody, now published in Irked magazine online. It's about depression and is witty, sharp, moving and beautifully drawn. Take a look.

The magazine itself is a space for people to "explore matters of the heart".

"Irked Magazine is committed to the concept that people improve when they know someone is paying attention. We believe that people everywhere can become less sad, or worried, or angry, or violent, or self-destructive simply by being given a forum to publish their work, and the dignity that comes with that sort of thing."

There is lots of fantastic stuff on Irked - it's well worth a good root around.

Women's No Pay Day campaign success...

On the 30th October I campaigned for an hour with colleagues from the Students Union, at the University where I work, for Women's No Pay Day. They continued for a further hour, and during that time we collected a total of 121 signatures to add to the letter to the Secretary of State demanding important inclusions in the forthcoming Equalities Bill.

I was very happy with the signatures we gained, but even more thrilled at two other things -
1 that 3 women from the SU committed time to campaign - after much persuasion -
2 that people we spoke to didn't know the reality of the pay gap and were horrified - many saying that they thought we had equality already

I was particularly thrilled because the initial responses when trying to encourage people to campaign with me, was very dispiriting. I started the day thinking it was probably going to be a disappointing and futile exercise. People had led me to believe that no-one cares.

I firmly believe that if people know the facts, they do care and will take action. Many people came back to the stall we had bringing a friend who they had talked to, who also signed the petition. At least a third of the people we spoke to, who then signed, were men.

You can see a report of our event and others on the day here, at the Fawcett website - I took the photo.

If you still haven't signed up it's not too late - click here to sign.

Monday, October 13, 2008

women's no pay day 30th Oct

October 30th is Women's No Pay Day.

It’s nearly 40 years since equal pay legislation came into force in the UK.

Women working full-time in the UK get paid 17% (or roughly one sixth) less than men...
That’s the equivalent of women working the last two months of the year for free
, while men get paid year-round. Last year, the Fawcett Society labelled October 30th ‘Women’s No Pay Day’ to tell the world that on this day, women across the UK will receive their last payslip. This year, the pay gap remains unchanged at 17%. But we have a great opportunity for change with the forthcoming Equalities Bill.

The Fawcett Society are asking supporters across the UK to hold an event on or around Women’s No Pay Day to raise awareness of the pay gap and to tell the world: we demand equal pay! I am campaigning at the University where I lecture, in partnership with the Students Union events and volunteering coordinators and hopefully some volunteers. I have signed the open letter to John Hutton MP.

What can you do?

  • 10 minute action: write to your local paper. Tell them about the pay gap, and about Women's No Pay Day.
  • 1 day action: take to the streets on No Pay Day
    Visit the Fawcett Society's website to find out more about No Pay Day and how to get involved, or to download the campaigners' info pack which has loads of information on putting on and publicising an event for No Pay Day.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

here again......

suprised to find it's a year since I last posted.
Last time I wrote here I said this....

To update:
1 - I still feel comfortable at work - the job is interesting, varied, stimulating, challenging and I'm in a good team.
2 - T's Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment is still not working fully yet, so things are still quite unpredictable and it's hard to plan ahead. The challenges of disablism are constant and our relationship has changed to adjust but life is fairly stable.
3 - I work 3 days a week but have been doing extra days for other organisations to earn a bit more - on average have worked 4 days most weeks. This has been a bit too much. My colleagues are keen for me to work full time, but I'm sticking to my plans.
3 - When I am not working, T and I still get out and about in the campervan a lot - we spent 2 and a half weeks in the Outer Hebrides in May 2008 - a fantastic trip!
4 - My youngest step-son has just started at a new Uni - he went to Uni last year but it didn't suit him - wrong course, wrong Uni. He's done some voluntary work and paid work this year and changed quite a lot. So far he's loving his course. My oldest step-son has been working for a homeless charity and had his own house with his partner. They've just moved back to her parent's house as they are going to travel interationally for 6 months next year. The house is now officially empty of "children" again, but they'll be staying over regularly.

All this means that I am STILL sometimes stressed, always busy, but overall content with my lot.

In Dec 2006 I said this.....

I am pleased to say:

I have done some paid work and some joint projects with the local self-advocacy project that I first worked with in my last job.
I have taken a lot of photos with T- being paid for some of it - and we had our first exhibition recently which was a fantastically positive experience.
I took a life drawing class last year at Uni, but it doesn't run anymore.
I sing with a women's natural voice choir and sometimes take the sessions as the deputy leader which has given me loads of confidence. I bought a new piano accordion recently which is beautiful,
but -
I still need to get good at that.
I don't walk enough.
froom is still on hold
and blogging has been ignored but here I am again!


every day for the last 2 months.
I had shockingly unbearable pain when I had a period in August. It was the worst ever. I've had bad and severe but nothing like that.
My doctor has put me on the pill to stop me having another period until I get to the consultant.
I've had an abdominal scan and internal vaginal scan (both ultrasound) in September which showed nothing serious. The vaginal scan was very uncomfortable towards the end. I have a small fibroid apparently.
I stopped taking the pill a few years ago, as I don't think it's good for me to be on it more than 12-13 years. I'm only taking it as a temporary measure, and my doctor is also clear about that.
It's giving me very painful breasts in the morning and this bleeding is very annoying. I get some mild background cramp some days too like period pain. Weird! When I was on it before (a different make) I had nothing like that. This one must be a lot less powerful hormonally.
A friend of my Mum's yesterday thought maybe I'll have a D&C.
Have to wait and see.....