Open letter to Jeremy Corbyn: Support the Nordic Model and real change for women

Dear Jeremy Corbyn,

You let women down yesterday.

Many of us backed you and your policies and were excited when you made a commitment to appoint women to 50% of cabinet roles.

As a Labour voter and an anti-racist, I stood a few metres from you at the solidarity march on Saturday, clapping. I lauded you on Facebook when you declared: “You don’t have to walk in fear of racists and the far right.” I stuck up for you and your decent, socialist policies against liberal, centre right and right wing friends.

Yesterday was disappointing. To be honest, I wasn’t that bothered about the precise mathematical split, but I did want to see a meaningful improvement in women’s representation at senior levels of parliament. I certainly didn’t expect there to be a massive loophole in your promise, allowing you to keep it on a technicality while allocating women the soft jobs so they could be sidelined by men; even less experienced men.

British people are used to be let down by Labour, like the time we all backed Tony Blair and he led us into what now looks like an illegal war.

And women are used to being let down by the left, as well as the right.

We are just over 50% of the population and we are tired of being written off as a fringe issue.

Left wing men who leave us out of their shiny vision are making women choose between socialism and feminism and this won’t help them for long.

Jeremy, please don’t join the catalogue of crusading left wing men who draw the line at women’s rights.

The best thing you can do now is show us you are actually committed to making a meaningful difference to the lives of women and girls around the world.

How about getting involved in something really current and standing up to Amnesty International’s awful decision to recommend decriminalising the entire sex industry?

 How about backing the Nordic model? This would mean only decriminalising the prostitutes and supporting them to exit, while the abusive pimps and johns who trade the bodies of women and girls could still be punished. Listen to the current prostitutes and sex industry survivors who know prostitutes need the protection of a legal framework that will prosecute those who exploit, degrade and abuse them. Study the statistics that show that where prostitution is fully decriminalised, trafficking increases.
If you’re committed to equality, having fallen at the first hurdle, make a stand and tell the world that female bodies are not commodities to be bought and sold. That it is not ok to say prostitution is a job like any other when the rape risk is off the scale, when 89% of prostitutes want to exit and when most entered as children.

Add your voice to the campaign to achieve real equality for women and girls, including the ones Amnesty International threw under a bus to support its claim that men’s access to sex is a human right.

Join us, Jeremy. You let women down yesterday, but hand on heart I don’t think you’re a misogynist. Help us prevent this abusive trade from earning the stamp of human rights approval.

I could go on about this forever, you can read my thoughts here if you want, but for now, few more points about those crusading left wing men.

George Galloway, the rape apologist. Said having unprotected sex with a sleeping woman who has only consented to sex with a condom is not rape. Strongly implied that if you’ve had sex with someone once, you can’t rape them on the same day. Later accused a female politician of lying about being forced into marriage at 15 after sourcing her birth certificate that said she was 16. Like that’s ok for 16 year olds.

Comrade Delta of Socialist Worker Party was accused of raping a woman in the party. Women and men left the party when it was officially decided that the issue would be dealt with internally. He was “acquitted” by a show of hands.

James Bloodworth, editor of Left Foot Forward. Nice man, bang on regarding many issues. But he lamented the loss of freedom of speech and the dangers of overzealous border control when we women, backed by some great men, campaigned to have pick up artist Julien Blanc denied a visa to perform his rape seminars in London.“Let Blanc in,” Bloodworth told women on Twitter, despite the fact Blanc had already been thrown out of Australia and banned from various other countries. “Let society judge him; I will stand with women,” Bloodworth said. Really, James? How about now?

In the end, it was a dreaded Tory, Theresa May, who banned Blanc from the UK.

This is why it’s important to have women represented in senior roles, Jeremy.

A lot of men just don’t get it when it comes to the severity and frequency of sexual violence. Women are scared and women are angry; we’ve been dealing with lechery, intimidation and actual assault since our early teens or even before.

And if the fate of your equal cabinet policy is anything to go by, I hate to think what your women-only carriages idea is going to pan out like. Although I have to say, I’d rather you cracked down on violent men than got us our own train carriages.

Jeremy, I don’t think you’re a misogynist but you now have a lot to prove to women about your commitment to equality.
I think you’re a nice man with great principles.

I do look forward to the day when you will prove me right.

Janie Davies
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