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Dear Friend,

In response to the UK Home Secretary’s call for evidence regarding the planned review of the Strategy on Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) this spring, Fearless Futures submitted a report using our unique analysis and frameworks to unpack the root causes of this systemic violence, and offer policy solutions that directly tackle sexist institutions. You can read the full report on our website, but here are some important takeaways:

Our research emphasises that violence against women is not merely about injury incurred by individual women. Rather it refers to a systematic abuse, which aims to sustain asymmetric gender relations and gendered organisations of power, to keep women in their place of subordination and sustain mens’ positional power across society. Violence against women and girls is sexist and patriarchal violence, and is as such about women/girls experiencing violence/being the target of violence because they are women/girls.

This is a historically rooted phenomenon, which is perpetuated through structures in our society - laws, policies and institutional practices - and finds social approval in notions of patriarchal masculinity, to which men and boys are socialised and encouraged. The continuum of violence against women, as a method of sustaining power and control, distinguishes it from “random” or ‘individual’ acts of violence.

A systemic approach which understands all forms of sexist violence on a continuum makes clear that a criminal justice approach which seeks to respond to violence after the fact, punishing only those violences which are criminalised, cannot effectively disrupt and tackle the root causes of VAWG. We suggest that the government VAWG strategy should focus attention and resources on education and awareness raising. We agree with the Government statement that “It is our collective responsibility to identify and tackle oppressive attitudes, patterns of behaviour and practices which try to achieve power and control over victims and survivors of these crimes”; the government is uniquely positioned to embed education and awareness raising in policy and institutions, to this end.

While all women and girls may experience sexist and patriarchal violence, women who are also targeted by other intersecting systems, experience sexist and patriarchal violence that is compounded by intersecting systems. As a result, those women who are the most marginalised face increased risk and should be prioritised in the governments VAWG strategy, with specific solutions/interventions drawn up that speak directly to this lived reality.

Did You Know?

[Image description: 
Hundreds of people stand outside Liverpool's Saint George's Hall, with a banner reading "Truth, Justice" in 2016 for a vigil for the Hillsborough tragedy victims. Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]

After 96 people were crushed to death at a Liverpool game in 1989, it took more than thirty years of lies to identify the targeted police negligence that led to the Hillsborough disaster. Legal forces, conservative politicians, and the media used long-held narratives of class contempt to cover up how police deprioritised the safety of Hillsborough individuals. Rooted in the negative ideas that working class folks have loose morals and make bad decisions, victims were tested for alcohol consumption and blamed for their own injuries and deaths. While nothing can bring back the lives lost, the concentrated efforts of Hillsborough families demanding justice for all these years demonstrates the unique power of working-class people to unify against the institutional criminalisation of poverty.

Virtual Workshop - Thinking Outside the Boxes:
a Holistic Approach

Tuesday, 25th May from 9:00AM-11:00AM EDT/ 2:00PM-4:00PM GMT
As unfashionable as it is to say it, creating an inclusive culture in your organisation relies on understanding the complexity of the underlying issues that prevent robust change. Leaders who care about inclusion therefore need new, sharper tools to make this a reality. This workshop will be an introduction to how leaders who care about making inclusion happen can sharpen their thinking outside of and across inclusion silos as you design and lead on making inclusion a reality. If you are interested, sign up below.
25th May Booking & Info
Design for Inclusion US (Virtual)
14th-18th June from 12:00PM-4:00PM EDT
The five-day DFI is broken down into three sequential stages for senior leaders and stake holders committed to inclusion in their respective organisations:
  • Deepening cognisance and understanding of complex inequities and exclusions at the interpersonal level (between people in teams, relationships).
  • Analysing complex inequities at a system level and the implications of these on individuals and organisational culture and outputs.
  • Building up new capacity: flexible frameworks and tools for applying this analysis into impactful action across: policies, processes, products and people.
June DFI Booking & Info
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