I have reinstated this post, which I had removed for the duration of the election period so as not to dilute the core message of my campaign, because a question about this topic arose at the Stoke Climsland hustings last night.
Questions to ask (of both Belgium and the UK), are:
1. How many refuge places are there that are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, or a priority-of-need basis, without discrimination against either sex? If we can have unisex toilets in this day and age, why on earth do we need ladies and gents shelters for refugees from domestic violence?
2. In the light of the Public Sector Equality Duty, how can it possibly be lawful (in the UK, or Belgium), for a public authority to direct public funding towards organisations that openly practise sex discrimination (by earmarking refuge places as being for one sex only)?
Women’s refuges, as a matter of policy, foster poor relations between men and women. This is an inevitable affect of isolating victims of domestic violence from the opposite sex. It is the deliberate segregation of the sexes at a time of crisis for each refugee, when he or she is in greatest danger of extrapolating his or her personal disappointment with the particular member of the opposite sex who used to batter him or her, into a general misogyny or misandry, as the case may be.
The solution to the shortage of refuge places that are available to battered men, and (often) their battered children, is NOT for “men’s” groups to create refuges that exclude women, and to apply for public sector funding. That is an absurd non-solution (often suggested with some sarcasm) that merely perpetuates an artificial pseudo-problem that feeds off the real and serious problem of domestic violence.
Rather, the solution is to starve of funds, and to prosecute or to encourage victims to sue, refuges run by “women’s” groups that exclude men in equal need of refuge; to prosecute or to sue them for sex discrimination. Market forces will force those sexist organisations running shelters to become non-sexist. or to sell their businesses on to others who are willing to operate those businesses in a non-sexist manner.
Probably the worst thing that one can do for many a refugee from an abusive relationship with a former intimate partner of the opposite sex, is to place them into an environment in which they never meet another member of the opposite sex socially, and especially where they never meet members of the opposite sex who are themselves refugees from domestic violence. This is likely to warp their perceptions, causing them to become entrenched in an erroneous belief system that the cause of domestic violence isn’t violent people of either sex, but rather an entire violent sex, about one half of the world’s population. This is likely to delay, or prevent permanently, their recovery.
Postscript, I wish to thank, publicly, Erin Pizzey, the founder of the first refuge for victims of intimate partner violence in the UK, for her brief words of encouragement recently.
See also: Masculism, Feminism and the Euro Tunnel