When in August Brazilian writer and feminist activist Clara Averbuck refused
the advances of an Uber driver, he physically threw her out of his car, leaving
her bruised and with a black eye. He then sexually assaulted her as she lay on the ground.
There are two major barriers to women’s full participation in the democratic process in the UK at the moment—the first relates to their taking part in the vital and shaping process of grassroots activism, and the second to their participation in more traditional political careers.
At the start of this year, my friend and WMC’s Women Under Siege director, Lauren Wolfe, started a Twitter hashtag, #2013EndRape, to highlight the epidemic of sexualized violence against women. While the hashtag has seen success, one of the unintended consequences has been its trolling and attacks on it by various “Men’s Rights Activists.”
I’m sitting in Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris having just opened an email from one of Women Under Siege’s writers. She’d sent me a copy of a threat she’d received that scattered chills up my arms and down my legs. The sender said he was coming for her; he’d kill her, that “little bitch.”
It’s been an interesting couple of days. Gloria Steinem (our project’s founder) and I wrote an op-ed for The Guardian about what we’re calling the “cult of masculinity” and its role in rape in conflict and gang violence. The reaction to the op-ed, however, wasn’t pretty.