Trigger warning for gendered violence.

I found an article in the Times today about documents revealed to that newspaper about  UK involvement in the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. Apparently our Government has been trying to reword;

Violence against women is understood as a violation of human rights.


Violence against women constitutes a serious obstacle for women’s enjoyment of human rights.

It seems that we also want to alter the document so that it applies only in peacetime and not in armed conflict.

Hang on, what?? We’ll leave out any problems with the definition of ‘woman’ for the moment – it’s almost certainly cissexist and binarist, although I don’t know enough about the Council of Europe and the Convention to know for sure – even though those problems are very relevent to human rights.

Women are human. (It’s sad that I’m saying this on the 100th International Women’s Day…) Therefore, women’s rights = human rights. And violence against the person is an infringement of human rights. (Right to life, liberty and security of person, Universal Declaration of Human Rights). So UK Government, what the hell are you doing? It doesn’t constitute a serious obstacle to women’s enjoyment of human rights – it bloody well infringes them. And altering the document to only apply in peacetime? No. Nononono. It’s always an infringement of human rights.

There has apparently been a lot of alarm caused by this; it’s taken 47 member states almost 2 years to negotiate and was about to be signed off. Senior figures in Europe are reported to be ‘alarmed’ and members of the Council of Europe ‘astounded.’ Kate Allen, the Director of Amnesty International, urges Theresa May not to push this and to adopt the Convention as it stands, saying that any attempt to weaken it would be a ‘retrograde step.’ Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper condemns it as ‘hypocritical,’ coming as it does on the day May launches the Government’s strategy to combat violence against women and girls. The End Violence Against Women Coalition says that the intervention is ‘unprecedented.’ Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Home Office says, ‘We are supportive of the work of the Council of Europe in raising awareness of violence against women and girls and keen to see the adoption of a strong Convention.’ Really? Then why are you weakening it?

*    *    *

In other news, Happy International Women’s Day. There’s something going on for it on Saturday where I am, and I’m not sure whether to go due to rugby and the fact that I’m afraid there will be a lot of binarism and cissexism to combat.

My aunt, who lives in Cyprus, was given makeup brushes to celebrate. Yay! It’s International Women’s Day! As a celebration, let’s enforce the beauty standard! Gaa. Awful.

I was also the only person in my sociology class to be able to name any famous female scientists at all. It’s quite upsetting.

  1. Ayade says:

    Well, to be fair, if your aunt were a makeup geek, it is a rather different matter. The individual and all. More disturbing the institutional — the promotion by powerful parties of the idea that gifts suitable for IWD are, and only are, those manifesting traditional femininity.

    • JKBC says:

      If she’d requested them, there would have been no problem. The problem is that they were handing them out to everyone who looked like they had breasts, and, as you say, promoting the idea that the only suitable things for IWD are those related to femininity as it is constructed by our culture.

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