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Artillery Row

Violence against women — but woke?

Politicians should stand up to anti-women aggression

On 8th July an estimated 25,000 people attended Trans Pride in London. Attendees declared the event a combination of love and rage. The rage against women was displayed in all its male glory when Sarah Jane Baker (formerly Alan Baker) took to the stage and proudly declared

I was going to come here and be really fluffy, and be really nice and say ‘yeah be really lovely queer and gay’, but no. If you see a TERF punch em in the fucking face

For those that aren’t aware, TERF stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist and the term is synonymous with women objecting to, or voicing concerns against gender identity ideology. TERF is widely accepted to be a tactic used to ostracise and threaten women into silence. A quick search on Twitter reveals TERF’s being described as “Nazis” and “ignorant hateful c*nts” with invitations for them to “go fuck themselves on cactuses”. The website TERF is a slur gives a plethora of other examples aimed at the modern-day witch and the phrases “punch a TERF” or “kill all TERFs” are documented hundreds of times.

I’m pretty certain Baker, a convicted kidnapper, and attempted murderer, who claims he cut his own testicles off and ate them*, won’t have been disappointed with the response — in a medieval display of misogyny, the baying crowd raucously cheered on his calls to punch women in the “fucking face”.   

As women we aren’t shocked or surprised by this blatant show of male violence directed at us, it’s not even original, and the days that followed evidenced a familiar response from the police to men’s violence against women. 

Women reported Baker’s comments and in a “Will They Won’t they” game of cat and mouse we waited to see if the police would defend women from a man’s overt aggression and threats. Initially the Met batted off women’s concerns until, I suspect, the public nature of the offences led them to do a U turn, as they have now confirmed they are re-opening an investigation

Given Baker is also still on license I sincerely hope the probation service are reviewing his conditions. They’ve a lot of evidence to work with, as he frequently attends women’s rights events and always brings his rage with him. I have personally attended an event that Baker protested — believe me when you are a woman walking past a man like that and he is shouting at you through a megaphone, his male presence and propensity for violence is felt in every fibre of your being. 

Following Baker’s newfound fame, the response of politicians is probably the most telling indication of how seriously they view men’s violence against women. Baker is used to rubbing shoulders with MPs, having been pictured with Nadia Whittome, Angela Eagle, and Lloyd Russel Moyle. But surely after this very public declaration of violence against women, you’d expect that particularly male politicians would be scrambling to unequivocally condemn Baker’s comments. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened with either Labour MP Clive Lewis, or London Mayor, Sadiq Khan. Both of whom use violence against women to their political expedience when it suits. 

In 2017 Clive Lewis had to issue a public apology for telling a man to get on his “knees bitch”. Since then, he has tried to remedy some of the harm caused by his own behaviour. Making a public statement in 2021 after the murder of Sarah Everard, he proclaimed:

Women should be able to walk home at night — and live their lives at all times — without fear of violence, intimidation and misogynistic abuse. The fact I have to make that statement, here in the second decade of the twenty first century, is a damning indictment of our society.

Well, quite…

Weird then that after Baker’s comments Mr Lewis tweeted the following: 

Advocating violence against others is wrong & this is no exception. But as you’ll be aware violent language and actions are not unique to one side on this issue. That doesn’t justify the above in anyway, but it does require we acknowledge the general toxicity & step back from it.

Yet where was the violent language on the other side? You know what they say Clive? Everything before the “but” is bullshit. 

Moving onto Sadiq Khan, who has spent the last few years claiming he will change the plight of women who are subjected to men’s violence. His office publishes shiny strategies and makes pledges, and he generally spends a lot of his time pointing the finger at the Met in a “it’s not me, it’s them” type scenario. So, you’d expect him to jump at the chance to prove his commitment to his own strategies. On the day of trans pride, he tweeted his support for the event, on the day after Baker’s call to punch women, a spokesman for Mr Khan said

The mayor is a proud LGBTQI+ ally and has been clear in his support for the trans community. He is also clear that violence is never acceptable.

I’d say Khan’s attitude to the situation was even worse than Mr Lewis. It’s so lazy and non-specific, he couldn’t even be bothered to make his own statement, sending a spokesperson who made no mention of the blatant male violence that occurred towards women in the city he is the elected mayor of. Khan’s own strategy states that he will:

Recognise that violence starts with words, and we all have a responsibility to challenge the behaviour that can lead to violence and making women feel unsafe.

But not for those women eh Mr Khan? They can take what’s coming to them…nasty witches. 

Male politicians like Khan and Lewis drip themselves in platitudes and promises to the female sex, they make laudable declarations on ending men’s violence towards women. But when it comes down to proving they mean it, their responses render their strategies and promises to women as utterly meaningless. 

Put simply when faced with a man convicted of kidnap and attempted murder publicly declaring that he wants to punch women in the face, Khan, and Lewis evidence what many women already know — a great many men neither care nor believe us when it really matters. 

It appears women’s last hope on this matter remains with the Met Police, let’s see how that pans out shall we? 

*We only have Alan’s word that he cut his own balls off and ate them given the history of his criminality he might not be the most reliable source of information. 

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