Make misogyny a hate crime like racism and homophobia’, demand campaigners

News

A study reveals shocking levels of abuse waged against women – and calls for a specific offence to be created

Organising charity Citizens UK said women were three times more likely than men to experience threats and acts of sexual violence and assault.

Horrific examples uncovered by researchers include a Jewish woman slammed against a wall and threatened with sexual assault during a barrage of anti-Semitic abuse in Manchester, and a Muslim woman punched in the face at traffic lights in Birmingham.

The study is based on findings from more than 1,000 people and 200 focus group participants in five cities – Birmingham, Cardiff, Newcastle, Manchester and London.

It reveals 45.2% of women reported being threatened with sexual violence compared with 16.2% of men.

Some 42.7% of women quizzed said they had been sexually assaulted, compared with 12.5% of men.

But, the study says, despite women being more frequent targets for hate-motivated attacks because of their gender than men, there is no consistent way for women to report misogyny under current hate crime laws.

The report, written by Dr Farhan Samanani of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Ethnic and Religious Diversity, recommends overhauling criteria so misogyny is specifically recorded.

Former Notts Police Chief Constable Sue Fish, who pioneered the adoption of misogyny as a specific category of hate crime in the force area, said: “Making misogyny a hate crime was one of the simplest tasks I’ve ever done working in the Police – and yet the results that we saw were incredible.

“Some of the feedback we had was that women, for the first time, described themselves as ‘walking taller’ and with their ‘heads held high.’

“In Nottinghamshire we started rolling a small stone down a hill, and it’s gathering moss, gathering traction, and has the potential to make a huge difference to the lives of all women, and also men.”

Philip Grindell, chief executive of threat management consultancy Defuse Global, said: “My personal view is misogyny should be a hate crime – women are being disproportionately targeted on the basis of their gender.

“There is ample evidence of an escalation of threats and attacks against high-profile women – reflecting a wider problem in society at large and the need for policing to adjust accordingly.”

Abdul Basith Mohammed, of Newcastle Central Mosque, said: “Attacks against Muslim women are a clear and present danger and are having a hugely damaging effect on their wellbeing, and confidence using public transport or to go to public places.

“This must end.

“We need a better reporting system to ensure people feel confident that they will be taken seriously.”