I have today been declined permission by our male Council Chair to propose a Motion Without Notice (Emergency Motion) to tonight's May 19th’s full council meeting.
The reason given by the Director of Governance and Monitoring Officer, who will have advised the Chair on whether he can use the Constitution to rule the motion out, was “Whilst the attack you refer to in the motion has taken place since the agenda was published, the issues that it raises and about which the motion seeks debate are not something that are newly arising”.
The motion I intended to propose makes the point that this attack - which was caught on camera and happened with a police presence nearby - resulted in the assaulted woman, not the male attackers, being asked by police to move on, marking a significant and worrying escalation of male public aggression and police complacency toward women.
This is the motion that was declined by the Chair:
To consider the following Motion Without Notice
Proposer: Cllr MANDY CLARE
Women’s Rights, Free Speech and Respectful Debate
A woman was physically assaulted this week in the presence of the police by a trans rights activist dressed from head to toe in black. The assaulted woman, rather than the masked attacker, was then approached by police and reportedly asked to move. The activist group, masked and carrying pink and blue flags, had blocked women from speaking publicly next to the ‘Rise Up Women’ statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in Manchester’s St Peter’s Square. We are beginning to see the corruption of violent and sexual crime data through the erasure of the protected characteristic of sex and replacement with ‘gender identity’ something that can be fluid and hard to pin down and which legally should not be used to replace sex. However, despite this problematic development, we still know that male pattern violence and criminality is very different to female pattern criminality and that the best evidence we have suggests that transition from a male to female gender identity does not change this sexed pattern.
Women do sometimes abuse men, but we know that between March 2017 and March 2019, 97% of suspects in relation to domestic homicide (murder of mostly women by a partner or ex partner) were in fact male, the vast majority of victims being female. Research by the University of Bristol confirms that sexism and misogyny set the scene for men’s abuse of women. Attacks and threats against women by men extend beyond the domestic sphere but the events in Manchester this week illustrate a very worrying intensification of male abuse of women within the public realm. Examples of this range from online abuse, to vexatious reports to the police, to women being forced out of their jobs and discriminated against within the workplace, to public character-smearing and de-platforming, to shouting and outright physical assault. This intensification of male abuse of women within the public realm is particularly aimed toward women expressing concerns about issues such as trans Self-ID and the wider implications of that for women’s equality and safety and in relation to child safeguarding. This alarming cultural shift must be challenged by national a local government representatives as women have already been assaulted and it is only a matter of time before a woman is killed.
We pledge our solidarity with the assaulted woman, condemn the intimidation and abuse and acknowledge the stress this particular type of behaviour causes to women in particular, given the social backdrop of sexism and male violence that still exists. We also condemn the serious implications for freedom of speech within the UK. We are opposed to the silencing of women and closing down of legitimate, evidence-based and respectful debate in relation to women’s rights and the issues related to trans Self-ID. The trend toward ‘no debate’ that has actively silenced, shamed and punished women is a sexist and unacceptable development within our culture. Questioning and discussion does not automatically equate to transphobia or bigotry – within a sexist society, women have the right to not be called names, to be and to feel safe and to speak openly, without fear of intimidation and threat, whether others agree with them or not.
We call upon the Leader of the Council to urgently convene a cross-party, all-women Task Group to ensure that our policies and practices (including data-collection) are evidence-based, compliant with the law, with government and expert guidance and are informed by the views and experiences of our female residents and parents and we will provide a clear means for women to discuss their concerns with us and as an oppressed group, free from the fear of male violence.