What do I tell my 12 year old daughter?
Read councillor Rachel Burgess’ speech to Council after Conservative councillors decided not to take action to end harassment of women and girls in our area
“I am appalled and frankly astonished that the Conservatives are not wholeheartedly supporting this motion unamended this evening.
Male violence against women happens on a scale. What can begin with sexist jokes, so-called banter, street cat calls and harassment, that many of us have sadly encountered, can end with serious violence. It seems to be clear that the Conservatives do not understand this, or the importance of it.
Have they learned nothing from the dreadful murder of Sarah Everard, by a man whose behaviour began with sexist conduct – but ended horrifically in murder.
And the appalling response, after the event, as women were advised to ‘flag down a bus’ if they didn’t feel safe with a male police officer.
It is not a women’s problem. It’s not up to women to keep themselves safe. It’s not up to women to change their behaviour – yet so often the response to male violence is that women should change. It has to stop now.
All men can help to prevent violence against women by speaking out against poor behaviour, by not tolerating it, by calling it out. Now.
The fact that the Conservatives are denying to support White Ribbon this evening unreservedly and refusing to support action against street harassment now, is frankly insulting.
It shows just how committed the Conservatives are, really, to the equalities agenda.
To finish I would just like to ask the Conservatives that are refusing to support this whole heartedly this evening, basically kicking the can down the road on this: What do I tell my 12 year old daughter about how much this Conservative Council values her right to be safe, her right to feel safe, and her right to be free of male harassment – or worse – on our streets?”