Spokespersons Aisha Ali-Khan (07718990706) and Sue Easterbrook (07967 351901)
Dear Members of Parliament,
We are writing to you ahead of the 3rd reading of the Bill on ratifying the Istanbul Convention on violence against women and domestic violence, which is due to take place on Friday. We urge you to show up and support this important Bill, to bring about the urgent reforms needed for the 1 in 4 women in the UK who experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.
Why take the step of writing to you, and not our local MP? We are constituents of Philip Davies MP appalled by his attempts to obstruct this Bill at previous readings. In December he spoke for an hour and derailed the debate by putting forward his own agenda of men’s rights. His slogan is “Your interests, not self-interest” – but nothing could be further from the truth. When we try to engage with him, he brands us “extremists”, “socialists” and “feminist zealots”.
We have alerted Philip Davies to the fact that the Istanbul Convention recognises that men can be victims of domestic violence, and also to the disproportionate number of women who suffer domestic abuse, sexual violence and harassment, stalking and coercive behaviour. He persists in being dismissive of our concerns, and in his argument that the Bill is “discriminatory on the grounds of gender”. We understand he intends to oppose it at the next reading unless his proposed (and numerous) amendments to make it gender-blind are accepted. This is a wilful misunderstanding and sabotage of the Bill – and he cannot do this in our name.
While this Bill is delayed, people (mostly women) are being maimed and killed by abusive partners. To see this legislation filibustered is soul destroying for those who really need the protection of such a Bill. The Prime Minister herself recognises that domestic violence is “a life-shattering and absolutely abhorrent crime” and recently admitted that current legislation lacks clarity, resulting in “unacceptable” inconsistencies in local support for vulnerable women and girls. We hope therefore that this Bill will receive strong cross-party support and that common sense will prevail.
We hope that you will support the Bill, and do everything within your power to ensure that Philip Davies is not allowed to make a shambles of the parliamentary process.
Shipley ‘Feminist Zealots’
Anna Sian Forman
Sara Teresa Mollis
Lorna Faye Dunsire