‘Every time I stand up in the House of Commons, I try to speak for people who are forgotten’ Jess Phillips #everywoman
Hopefully anyone yet to read Everywoman by Jess Phillips won’t think it a massive spoiler to reveal that she considers herself to be something of champion for victims of domestic violence and the charitable bodies that support them.
Even so, if your first impression of the Member for Birmingham Yardley was informed by her unguarded reaction to the notion of discussing male inequalities in Parliament, it may come as something of a surprise to learn that this commitment extends across the traditional gender divide.
I care about men who suffer domestic violence and I want to help them. Jess Phillips #everywoman
In the chapter ‘The Truth About Violence’ Jess talks about her meteoric rise from a low level job writing emails in West Bromwich Women’s Aid to becoming ‘probably one of the go to voices in the world on the issue of violence against women.’
Given her personal perspective and experience as a woman, working for a woman only charity that only offer help to women, it is perhaps understandable that some gaps in understanding persist. Even so Jess’ blindspot when it comes to inter partner violence experienced by men does come across as quite remarkable:
I invite those who care so much [about male victims] to create a movement, prove the need and demand, get funding, support and I’ll gladly come and cut the ribbon.
Crack on but don’t ring up Women’s Aid and talk about men. Jess Phillips #everywoman
I’m far from being the first person to do this but, in the anticipation that if it may help Jess to get a few steps closer to the ribbon cutting stage, I have succinctly set out evidence showing that there very obviously is a demand, not to mention a need elsewhere.
But even if we take her own conservative inference that 10% of victims will be male and her possibly inflated estimate for UK female victims (7 million annually), we reach a number that is remarkably similar to the annual British Crime Survey estimate that she so readily poo poos in her book.
There is clearly support, and an ever growing movement calling on the Government to address the very stark inequalities when it comes to state funded service provision in this area.
So even if Jeremy Corbyn might shift uncomfortably at the thought of Jess Phillips with a pair of scissors in her hand, hopefully ‘one of the go to voices in the world on the issue of domestic violence’ will eventually take another look at her sums and start speaking out for all victims, instead of using ill-informed rhetoric to seemingly speak against the rights of anywhere between 1 in 10 and 1 in 3 victims of violence that are so often forgotten.
Image credit & Quotations: Jess Phillips / Penguin / Hutchinson Fair Use (Copyright, Designs and Patents Act): Criticism, Education & Parody.