‘1000 Voices’ Manchester campaigners speak out against misogyny

  • 'Misogyny is Hate' campaign speaks out against misogyny in Manchester
  • Students call for misogyny to be re-classified as a hate crime
  • Group claims 85% of young women experience some form of misogyny in public 

The #MisogynyISHate (MIH) campaign is pressing forward with its aim to make Greater Manchester Police treat misogyny as a hate crime.

The student-led movement began at the end of summer 2018 and has worked tirelessly to combat misogyny and bring public attention to the dangers faced by women in Manchester.

A hate crime is defined as ‘a crime, typically one involving violence, which is motivated by prejudice on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, or other grounds’.

The Office of National Statistics and the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) claim that 20% of young women experience some type of sexual assault. 

Greater Manchester Citizens Women’s Action team leader and politics and sociology student, Sylvie Pope, was appointed as head of the campaign by GMC community organizer Furgan Naeem.

Under Sylvie’s leadership, the group has been praised for its activities and recently put on their ‘1000 Voices Rally’. Sylvie herself also appeared on ITV News and BBC Breakfast to discuss the campaign.

Sexuality, religion, disability, race, transgender identity and alternative sub-culture are already nationally recognized protected characteristics so why then am I not protected as a woman?

Sylvie on BBC Breakfast
Sylvie Pope on BBC Breakfast

In December the campaign held a ‘1,000 Voices Rally’ at the University of Manchester student union. The evening opened with a rock band and various speakers from different backgrounds addressing the issue of misogyny in Manchester.

At the rally, campaign leader and English literature and Japanese student Devi Joshi spoke to the Northern Quota about the group and its reception. 

“With a hate crime, it is based on the person who has suffered. If a woman comes to us and says something like ‘I was sexually assaulted and I think that the cause of this was misogyny’ then what happens is the police have to take that into account and will open an investigation. We want misogyny to be treated like race, sexuality, in the severity and the legal sense,” she said.

“There has been so much support for the campaign. It’s actually been heart-warming to see that so many women trust us, talk to us, reach out to us and tell us about their personal experiences. I have been honored to be a part of the team.”

Devi also appeared on BBC Radio Manchester a few hours before the rally began to discuss the issues of the evening. 

During the meeting, the panel discussed the causes of misogyny and its prevalence in Manchester. The rally was also a show of solidarity towards those who had been the victims of actions motivated by contempt or prejudice against women.  

One of the key objectives of the ‘1000 Voices’ rally is to convince Greater Manchester Police to begin treating such actions as hate crimes. 

2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the suffragette movement and the year that women were given the right to vote following their actions during the First World War. MIH advocates for the introduction of specialist training for the Police so they can respond to incidents of misogyny. They also call for de-escalation schemes to be implanted in order to protect women. 

The rally included a Shakespearian style poem performed by 21-year-old English language, Old English and German language student, Orla Quilligan. 

But I do think it is their husbands’ faults

If wives do fall. Say that they slack their duties

And pour our treasures into foreign laps

 Or else break out in peevish jealousies

Throwing restraint upon us; or say they strike us

Or scant our former having in despite

Why, we have galls: and though we have some grace

Yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know

Their wives have sense like them: they see and smell

And have their palates both for sweet and sour

As husbands have. What is it that they do

When they change us for others? Is it sport?

I think it is. And doth affection breed it?

I think it doth. Is’t frailty that thus errs?

It is so too. And have not we affections?

Desires for sport? and frailty, as men have?

Then let them use us well: else let them know

The ills we do, their ills instruct us so. It were for me

To throw my sceptre at the injurious gods

To tell them that this world did equal theirs

Till they had stolen our jewel. All’s but naught

Patience is sottish, and impatience does

Become a dog that’s mad. Then is it sin

To rush into the secret house of death

Ere death dare come to us? How do you, women?

What, what, good cheer! Why, how now, Charmian?

My noble girls! Ah, women, women! Look

Our lamp is spent, it’s out. Come, away

This case of that huge spirit now is cold

Ah, women, women! Come, we have no friend

But resolution and the briefest end

1000 Voices Rally at the Manchester University Students Union
New Zealand Wines performing at the 1000 Voices Rally

The Northern Quota spoke with senior lecturer in law, feminist legal scholar, and international human rights specialist Doctor Kay Lalor of the Manchester school of law to discuss the practicality of making misogyny into a hate crime.  

She said: “Police and crown prosecution services have a specific definition of hate-crime. Any criminal offense which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s disability, perceived disability, race, perceived race, religion, perceived religion, sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation, transgender identity or perceived transgender identity. 

“Individual police forces have the autonomy to record forms of crime as hate crimes, GMP records alternative subcultures alongside its recording of the categories of the definition of hate crime.

“There could be an addition of misogyny or gender in some way to these five categories that are considered when it comes to sentencing. More generally, GMP could start recording incidents of misogyny or in some way take gender into account”. 

1000 Voices Rally at the Manchester University Students Union
A 1000 Voices Rally held at the University of Manchester’s Student Union

The movement took inspiration from actions taken by Nottinghamshire students which led to police recording acts of misogyny as hate crimes.

The Northern Quota spoke with MIH’s social media team leader and philosophy student Joe Penny to explore the aims of the campaign.

“Women who are sexually assaulted or raped, they may often feel that it was either their fault or they won’t get any help so they remain quiet. It is so hard to talk about this because of the emotional trauma. Some feel they won’t get the actual support they need”

To support this campaign go to Misogyny is Hate Facebook page. 

Go to SoundCloud to hear more about the campaign. 

1000 Voices Rally at the Manchester University Students Union
Social media team leader Joe Penny attending the 1000 Voices Rally