Cost of Living Impact on Today’s Learners

We have a historical habit of conflating wealth and character in the UK. This is core to the class system.

It is also core to the Classic Liberalism political ideology our current government believes in today – the idea that a person’s situation depends entirely on the individual decisions made. It does not acknowledge inequality of opportunities.

Historically in a more religion centric society that if you were poor or you were disabled that was because YOU had made bad choices. You must be sinful or immoral in some way, which is why punishment for poverty was justified.

Then came The Beveridge Report which found that actually the 5 giants were at play. It was from The Beveridge Report that education, housing standards, the NHS and the welfare state was born. It made economic sense too.

Then came the 80s with its “nanny state” rhetoric and back to blaming the poor for things infact the rich controlled. The media run by billionaires are friends with the billionaires in the government but divide and conquer tactics are effective. We now see again the rolling back of the state and the teachings of the Beveridge Report forgotten, we see more of the demonisation of the poor again.

So why does this matter to those working with children and young people?

Well the obvious reason’s related to the hierarchy of needs is that children’s needs for warmth and food are less likely to be be met as the number of children in poverty rise with the cost of living crisis.

There is also the SEMH impact. If we as a society have decided that those on benifits are “lazy”, “scroungers”, “feckless”, not good enough to be tenants, probably criminals and thugs, whose children shouldn’t have been born if they couldn’t afford them and are a drain on decent tax paying people – then we teach our children that being poor is something to be ashamed of.

Despite the wealth of their family not being something that children and young people have any control over or responsibility for, with the cost of living crisis brings their demonisation. We have created a new generation of children who we have taught to be ashamed of their existence, that they are less worthy or respect or consideration, that they are not good enough. This will translate into how they feel about themselves and in turn how they are treated by others. What is acceptable behaviour towards them and what circumstances they should tolerate.

Let’s look at these ‘terrible people draining society’. Most on befits are currently in work but their employers are able to underpay knowing the welfare state will make up the rest of the wage. Unpaid ‘women’s work’ is the backbone of our society and contributes 140 billion a year to the UK economy, carers get £65.45 a week to live on, not even minimum wage and are saving local authorities thousands per month, SEND children are found by government green papers to be failed and not have access to a better quality of life because of these failings. These people are in circumstances out of their choosing and contribute hugely to our society. Yet all these people are labelled “dole scum”.

Children who believe they are worthless who should be grateful for what they get, carry that throughout their lives. They read the comment section. It is ingrained into them that they are worse than useless because their very existence bothers everyone else.

– They do not grow confidently enough to access education or employment opportunities.

– They are more likely to be exploited by gangs and groomers who make them feel like they matter and belong.

– They accepts unhealthy and abusive relationships because they don’t believe they are worth or can do better.

Is this what we want for a generation of cost of living crisis kids?

Exploitation, abuse and mental health issues? To accept the self fulfilling prophecy that they are the worthless criminals they are told they are?

Is it time for us to admit that we do not live in a meritocracy? That there is no correlation between a person’s wealthy and their character. That if hard work had anything to do with money, African women would be the richest people in the world. To stop burdening our children and good people in our society.

Stop measuring a person’s worth based on their contributions to capitalism.

Let’s teach our young people that their worth comes from their thirst for knowledge, being part of the communities, having good emotional regulation skills, feeling OK with asking for help, knowing they deserve consent and respect in all aspects of their lives, on seeing failure as a learning opportunity and not something to get defensive about and to deflect.

There are so many more important things to be than rich. Including the recognition that an unequal society contributes to that and not personal responsibility.

Maybe that’s a lesson we all could learn before it’s passed on to our children.

It’s all an Equality Act and a matter of opinion…apparently

So as promised, we give you the summary of the Hooters License Hearing at Salford Council. When we arrived it was clear that a PR strategy had been made by the Hooters side. Getting selected previous Hooters employees and current ones all speaking on behalf of the applicant and all sporting the same “Hooters Girl look”.

The first hour of the hearing was brief Duncan Craig who was also a customer and friend of the applicant, giving his subjective experiences and life story. He then proceeded to do the same for apparently “poor Julian who had put his life savings into this” (although he later claimed he was a very successful business man whose other branch made £50,000 a week) and that he was a really kind guy. This guy was always there for friends and staff, he’d done things for charity and more. The applicant Julian may be a wonderful person, he may rescue kittens from trees every weekend – that didn’t make it relevant.

Duncan went on to claim that the public of Nottingham were behind this venture (he provided no survey or proof of this of course but this was just the first of his unsubstantiated claims) and went on to say that “the truth of the matter was there was no correlation between Hooters and the sexualisation of women”.

Gemma Aitchison representing YES Matters UK questioned him on this, asking him for his qualifications in sexual objectification that gave him the backing for his claim that there was no correlation. Trying to deflect he pointed to the women brought to support the applicant. “No, they have experience in being a Hooters employee, I asked for your qualifications in the subject to substantiate your claim”. He was forced to admit that he had none, unlike many of the objectors attending.

This isn’t the first time that Duncan has just decided something wasn’t true because it was his opinion of the character of his clients, it seems it’s a common go to tactic in his profession:

“But barrister Duncan Craig dismissed the suggestion as “laughable” and described Mr Hanlon as a nice, gentle man who is also a vegan”

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/nice-gentle-vegan-denies-intimidation-22201173

Others offers of the irrelevant were from the noticeably aggressive Racheal Moss (Previously Tansey) who shouted while glaring at the opposition that she was a mother (as relevant as Julian being nice) and that she took her children into Hooters. Many parents do many things Racheal. I would never take my child or any of the children I work with into Hooters but I’m not so delusional that I think that’s any proof of anything.

She claimed that she was the manger of a successfully run Hooters in Liverpool but was forced to admit it wasn’t open yet…

Her soon to be branch was also met with objections such as “As well as being degrading to women, Hooters is a cheap, tatty bar chain with no class, no edge, no style. It will be an embarrassment to the city.”

Racheal is certainly no stranger to the company world with a string of previous business behind her. She was also the director of this company who were forced to pay out for sexual harassment of their employees that was reported but not taken seriously… “incidents happened on a daily basis and often in my presence and I can state that I found this to be degrading and humiliating on each and every occasion. Miss Williams said that she also emailed company owner Rachael Tansey about her harassment ordeal and resigned in September 2014 after getting no response.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3169597/Couple-suing-former-firm-claiming-boss-continually-harassing-sex-life.html

Looks like the Hooters Girls of the Liverpool branch will be in safe hands doesn’t it?

Instead we focused silly things such as the FACT (whether Duncan likes it or not) that the sexual objectification of women and girls is directly linked with violence against women and girls. Something which he dismissed as a “sideshow” and went on to interrupt Miriam Jacobson (from Womenchester & FiLiA) or try to. Perhaps showing the attitude towards women that the Hooters brand inspires…

It was then highlighted that Greater Manchester had made a commitment via the Gender Based Violence Strategy which states: “[set]out a comprehensive, responsive programme of service delivery to enhance the safety of women and girls, while preventing gender-based violence from occurring in the first place and challenging the attitudes and inequalities that enable it.”

During questioning the applicant admitted that the average age of their employees was 24, that they had no male waiting staff only male employees in the kitchens and behind the bar. That the uniform was only available in “athletic sizing” and that yes, the name of their brand which had nothing to do with the sexualisation of women and girls was infact referring to women’s breasts.

Those opposing the motion were: Womenchester, FiLiA, Men at Work CIC, Yes Matters UK, ClearPath Directive, Manchester Women’s Aid, Trafford Rape Crisis, Trafford Domestic Abuse Services, Manchester Feminist Network, Women’s Equality Party Greater Manchester, Greater Manchester Doulas CIC, Sisterhub Chester, Manchester Women’s Rights Network, Stockport Women’s Rights Network, Northern Rad Fem Network, End Abuse, Wigan, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham
Salford Mayor Paul Dennett,
Local MPs: Barbara Keeley, Labour MP for Worsley & Eccles South and Rebecca Long-Bailey Labour Party MP for Salford & Eccles, Councillors for Salford Quays Jake Rowland and Ann Humphreys (Labour) and Alex Warren (Lib Dem)
Councillor for Trafford, Joanne Harding (Labour) Councillor for North Reddish, Kate Butler (Labour)
Councillor for Davyhulme West, Karina Carter (Labour)
Councillor for Priory Ward, Louise Dagnall (Labour)
The Salford Quays Community Forum – so the local community
Helen Grant, Trafford Strategic Manager: Crime & Antisocial Behaviour
David Challen, campaigner for legal reform, speaker and specialist in coercive control.
Tom Farr, lawyer specialsing in human rights and sex trafficking.
Andrew “Bernie” Bernard, campaigner, educator and speaker against domestic abuse
Dr Stephen Burrell, Assistant Professor (Research), Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRIVA), Durham University
Chris Flux, founder of Men Against Violence campaign
Chris Green and Björn Suttka, Male Allies Challenging Sexism
Michael Conroy, Men at Work CIC, Youth Mental Health and Domestic Abuse Intervention Trainer
Alan Garner, Domestic Abuse Programme Facilitator and Education Partnership Officer
Sophie Walker, former WEP leader and Co-founder ActivateFund and The CEO of Salford CVS to name a few.

The final contradiction to be pointed out by Miriam Jacobson, was that Duncan was claiming that they were nothing to do with the Hooters brand which meant paying out for sexual harassment at work:

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/hooters-weight-discrimination-lawsuit-2892016

Birthday cake for 12 year old boy at the Hooters in Bristol

However he claimed they were part of the Hooters brand when they raised large amounts of tax saving money for charity.

Duncan claimed that the idea that sexual objectification of women and girls was linked to violence against them was untrue, personal opinion, and irrelevant to the Hooters application. This was met with clarification by Miriam Jacobson representative of Womenchester and FiLiA by reading out of multiple peer reviewed studies including from the World Health Organisation and a study on the impact of being a Hooters Girl.

Ironically despite Duncan constantly claiming things without being qualified to do so, because they were his opinion, Councillor John Warmisham went on to accuse the opposition of just that telling the MEN “Opinion and personal choice are not relevant or legitimate reasons to refuse an application and decisions are made by the Licensing Panel after careful consideration”

Despite the predicted outcome of the hearing being that Hooters won their licence, there was some success. They withdrew the vague plans of “dancing” and “a sort of club” plans. And those who opposed are looking at the appeal process.

The fact is that what this hearing with its predictable tactics and decision shows is that the sexist ideas based in gender stereotypes are alive and well. The idea that feminism is about choice (it’s not) that sexual objectification is empowering (it isn’t) and that making money from those harmful stereotypes means you’re still a nice guy if you do stuff for charity. The fact is that neither morality or women as commodities should be things you can buy.

Despite the tactics, staring, name calling and lying, those opposed made sure to listen when the Hooters side spoke, we didn’t interrupt or shout, we opted for showing basic respect.

Salford has decided that the safety and well-being of women and girls does not matter as much as men’s rights to profit from and enjoy them. And that all these strategies and lip service since Me Too and Sarah Everard have been nothing but tokenism. And that going against the Equality Act 2010 and the Gender Based Violence Strategy are just personal opinions.

No matter how much research and proof, as long as there are men out there who refuse to acknowledge the reality of violence against women and girls, we will have no change. We will have no rape conviction, domestic homicides and child sexual abuse because unqualified men think they know better than evidence about trauma, victim blaming, perpetrator tactics, gender stereotypes and yes sexual objectification. Nothing will change because they will not let it. It works well for them, keeping them in profit, entertainment and out of any accountability.

Hooters is a brand that profits from reinforcing the sexualisation of their Hooters Girls, who all have to have the Hooters look, who have it in their contract to flirt with customers who bring their families along so their sons can see it as normal too. At the hearing I asked for #DEEDSNOTWORDS and unfortunately Salford Council have failed to deliver.

Instead opting for sexism with a side of fries #NoToHootersSalford

Hooters Not Welcome in Suffragette City

The Hooters is an American company whose business model is based on the sexual objectification of their female staff as entertainment with your food. Waitresses are usually teenage or young adult women that conform to beauty standards because they too are on the menu.

Sexual harassment is part of the job, part of what is being sold and they want to come to Manchester, specifically Salford.

Greater Manchester has a long and proud history of women’s rights and more recently has put in place panels and working groups to tackle violence against women and girls. To try to rebuild trust as their police force is in special measures, we have a historical high in domestic homicides and a historical low in rape conviction. So given this important message about the rights to safety and citizenship to its female citizens, why would a company based on the sexual objectification of the women who work there?

Some more ignorant around this topic may argue its empowering and women want work there. The fact is that the sexual objectification of women and girls has a direct link with the violence against women and girls – they cannot be separated. So what is Hooters doing to take responsibility for the impact of their business?

Not only the safety of the women who work there but the normalised sexual objectification and entitlement attitude will also impact how women and girls in the area are treated. How they are seen, spoken to, touched, listened to. What is accepted and normalised impacts us all, how we see others and in turn how we treat others. This is no exception.

So what are Hooters doing to balance the sexual exploitation of local women and girls for profit? Are they providing mental health services regularly to waitresses suffering normalised sexual harassment at the least at work? If an incident of sexual assault were to occur would they provide CCTV for reporting or would that alienate their clientele? Are they providing the extra funds it takes for the waitresses to be what they expect in terms of weight, cleavage, make up and appearance? Contacting local schools in the area to provide resources for sexual harassment?

What matters more, men getting sexual gratification or the safety of women and girls is an age old argument. One it’s time for Salfords licensing board to answer. And we will be watching with interest, how they answer.

On June 10th YES Matters UK, Womenchester, Men at Work CIC and other groups will be at the hearing to find out.

We think the women and girls of Manchester deserve safety in their city and that is more important than sexism with a side of fries. #NoToHootersSalford

Unpaid Carers & The Cost of Living

This is the thing. Lots of people talking about if they don’t get pay rises of at least 7% they are accepting a pay cut and the rising cost of energy bills they are worried they won’t be able to afford to pay.

Unpaid carers don’t get pay rises. Regardless of inflation, the cost of living, whatever. They send you the letter that says “the amount the government says you can live on £64.45”.

And for those in sunny Bolton at least, you have to have Pay as you go gas and electricity meters in your social housing homes. They are already more expensive to pay for energy on. But we won’t get to make an installments arrangement or remind them they can’t shut the electricity off with disabled dependants – the house simply falls dark and cold once the money has run out.

I think about the carers who look after those who need machines to keep the one they’re caring for…safe, well, alive. They need that equipment but how can they manage it? This isn’t work equipment, not a company building, they don’t get training, they don’t get breaks, they don’t get pay according to performance reviews and carers allowance is no where near minimum wage.

So they will sit, without support or recognition, in the cold and the dark and watch. Watch the person they gave up everything for out of love, deteriorate and die. And there’s nothing they can do about it.

But you know, people on benitfits are scum right, so who gives a shit.

Public response by Gemma Aitchison

This is not a piece I was expecting to write but I feel its best to address what happened on the IWD march in Manchester this weekend.

Now I am no stranger to marches and protests for women’s rights and Manchester itself has a proud history of women coming together to peacefully protest for our rights. I know the chants about consent, about victim blaming, excusing male violence and power to the women passed on through many generations of women from the movement. I have never felt afraid to march.

Feminists have always been labelled man haters and been accused of going too far… although to my knowledge none has wanted to give back the rights feminists have given them. I’m used to people not agreeing with me but I’m ok with that! Talk, share ideas, maybe we will both change our minds on stuff after learning from each other – disagreement is not disrespect.

We were invited to this traditional march the closest weekend to International Women’s Day and this year the organisers were kindly collecting for YES Matters UK. Specifically for our free services to children who experience sexual abuse and exploitation that need mental health support and rehabilitation services. We are proud of the services we offer and appreciated the invitation and offer to collect for us.

This is my account from my perspective. The chants we’re not new but the reaction was. Before we started marching a woman was targeted and had milkshake thrown at her to try and degrade her. Later this happened again, the same male had followed the march, looked for us and did it again. This time it was a milkshake to the face for me.

Now I have never met or spoken to this person before. I was there to collect for child victim support services. I could not understand why they felt entitled to target me like that. So, believing communication is the key to conflict resolution, I went to ask.

When I approached a girl there told me that it was justified because we had shouted male violence at her friend who apparently identified as a trans woman. I explained that while we did do chants about violent men, her friend and group had followed us and not the other way around. That these were historical chants. That I had done nothing to her friend.

I was then told that she knew our group and that we were marching for hate. I explained that there were several groups and individuals. That based on assumptions she and her group had: decided who we were, what we thought and that they had the authority to punish us for that.

Then the same person who had thrown the milkshakes onto myself and others got into an altercation with a woman in front of me. I had never met the woman before.

I put myself between them. I did not do this with force or aggression. I shouted to them both to let go of each other. I told them they didn’t want to do this. I do not condone either of them. Then I was punched in the cross fire by my attacker. I shouted to please stop.

At this point others from both sides tried to pull their person away from the other. This resulted in us all falling to the ground. I tried to get up quickly and put my hand on my attackers leg and they hit out at me again. I thought maybe they thought they were still fighting so I put my hand out and said I’m not attacking you, I’m just trying to get up. I then, despite the fact that I had been punched by them seconds earlier, put my hand out to help them up.

At this point I walked away. It was a distressing experience. I was shaken up by it all and I couldn’t understand it. When I came back, I saw my colleague who was upset about the milkshake thrown on me had ruined the bags we had brought to sell, to make funds. At this point my attacker was shouting that the woman had started it. I chimed in that actually you started it by following us and throwing stuff at us, including me who has done nothing to you but help you and have done nothing wrong. “That’s fair” was the response I got.

Now I do not accept narrative that marching about male violence impacts trans rights, none of the chants we’re about any individual including my attacker who sought us out – not the other way around.

I do not accept that I did anything to that person or the others in the group that justified what happened to me. I have tried to understand why my attacker justified targeting me with the milkshake to the face or punching me but I can tell you that there’s no remorse for it…

Since the attack there has been what I can only describe as a celebration by the whole group that was there. Changing profile pictures and names to milkshake related names and some saying we deserved worse than we got. Again these people don’t know me, haven’t spoken to me and I have done nothing to them. But they feel entitled to incite and encourage violence towards me.

When at the police station, giving my statement I would like to acknowledge that the police were supportive, professional and kind. I would like to thank Greater Manchester Police for this as hearing the words victim impact statement was very triggering for me. Many of you know the last time I was asked to make one was regarding my sister’s murder and we don’t remember trauma – we relive it.

Today I am a bit sore and hyper vigilant. I think that marches about women’s safety and rights to justice are important. And although I will find the next one I attend scarey and difficult….there will be a next one. Violence will not silence!

I have been informed that my perpetrator will be given a caution and write me an apology letter… A hollow apology given the online celebration. I can’t say that I’m happy with this but it is a CPS decision.

I don’t regret going to the march because I did nothing wrong. I wanted to collect for the children we help and that’s important to me. I went to join the chorus of women’s voices who want and deserve to be safe, to be heard and to be believed.

I would ask anyone out there not to label others, decide who they are, what they think and believe – talk to them. You don’t have the right to judge them. You certainly don’t have the right to punish them for not believing what you do. You don’t have the right or the authority. Infadel, Terf and other words used to justify violence against someone who does not think what you want them to think is extremism and its wrong. Especially when you’ve not even had any interaction with them and don’t know what they think in the first place.

We are all growing and learning, everyday being influenced by our experiences and we need to remember that. Not everyone goes at the same pace, on the same path and has the same experiences as I do. Just because I think this way doesn’t mean that it’s the only right way to think. Communicate, share, grow and respect each other!! No one knows it all. One thing I do know is that violence and fear are tools of oppression and not progress. So I won’t let them win.

The Unreliable Victim

Maxwell who was recently found guilty if sex trafficking, is trying to get a retrail on the basis that one of the members of the jury has been a victim of child sexual abuse. That because they have been a victim means they are bias and unreliable on a jury.

We see victims deemed as unreliable consistently. Usually as a victim of the crime they are reporting, the CPS deeming them unreliable witnesses to their own experiences and that a jury wouldn’t believe. Both on and off the jury that label sticks.

So why does this matter? Well with the Victim Focus research finding that 99% of women experienced sexual offences against them, it begs the question if a jury of peers is then possible. With over half the population used to sexual offences against them meaning they are deemed unfit to be on a jury, does that leave a jury of perpetrators and enablers?

How fair is it for victims of sexual offences to be excluded from being part of the justice process?

Are we also asking have you ever been accused and so you have to be removed? Do you watch underage and violent pornography? Have you seen but not reported revenge porn? No. We’re not asking those questions…

Is it that all victims will automatically hate anyone accused?

Are we pretending someone previously accused wouldn’t sympathise with the accused in the dock?

It seems, as ever, victims are the ones on trial.

A jury of peers….but what kind of peers? Ones that laugh at rape jokes? That think upskirting is no big deal? Who grew up in a home where there was domestic abuse? Whose football coach abused them?

Victim’s have not had a lack of moral judgement. I find it odd that we seem to judge those who had no choice more than ones that made choices knowing it would harm others. Perhaps it’s time to balance to scales on who judges us and why.

What Partying Politics Tells Victims

Recently we have seen here in the UK the scandal of politicians, including the Prime Minister, breaking rules and laws they made by having parties during the Covid pandemic.

For us here at YES Matters UK, what has been interesting has been the narc perpetrator tactics being used by those in charge of the country as a result.

From the Prime Minister himself we have seen gaslighting, minimising, DARVO to name a few. It is never a narcs fault is it.

We have seen pointing to this report as waiting to see evidence before condemning the poor PM. Despite the videos, photographs, emails and witness statements we’ve already seen as well as a very carefully worded testimonial from the PM himself. Why is it, that putting accountability and responsibility for actions at the feet of those who have done wrong, is so difficult to do? We have no problem blaming women for everything including the actions of others. What women wear, where they go, what they drink, they are too nice, not nice enough but men break the law and were hesitant to say so.

It was law breaking, at number 10 who has police outside. Even the police are condoning and enabling.

For me I see the lad culture support your bro club all too familiar. The tactics used to dismiss, minimise and ignore I know too well. When we see sexual offences we play the same game.

A famous study by an American University showed that many male students were happy with the actions of rape such as having sex with someone asleep, getting someone drunk to have sex with them, making them feel guilty and coersing someone into sex and ticked yes to many of those actions. But when asked if you have ever raped someone they said no.

What we seem to have a problem with is accountability.

Here’s why that’s a problem. Without the acceptance and acknowledgement of a mistake, there is no changed behaviour. There is no development, growth for the better or learning not to do that in future.

Zero accountability or consequence, inevitably leads to escalation in these classically abusive behaviours & actions, and we all know where that ends.

And so we have this culture from the top to the bottom of blaming everyone else, putting your fingers in your ears and remaining a manipulative, stunted child.

To see these tactics used by the (mostly) men in charge of the country, it gives a message to survivors – I act like your perpetrator does. How can you have trust or confidence in those condoning and enabling bad behaviour or using abusive manipulation tactics?

We want to see MPs that stand for what’s right, that condemn bad behaviour and show they want a fair society. Not a bro code.

What We Have In Common With Amy Barlow

Watching Corrie last night and we were thrilled to see character Amy Barlow demanding education being a safe space for girls, free from sexual harassment and upskirting.

In Corrie upskirting images were shared and the school’s response to the sexual objectification of girls and what goes with that was inadequate.

As usual soaps reflect life in this case Ofsteds findings of the huge issue of rape culture in schools. We live in a society where teen girls are the most sexually objectified people on the planet. Even street harassment figures jump at school opening and closing times.

To highlight this issue we do the sexual objectification test first done by our founder in 2016. Google image search “school boy” and then “school girl”. This is the context of our girls lives.

To help address this, like Amy, we took action. We created the YES Matters Commitment for schools who want to address rape culture and make their schools a safe learning environment.

This includes being trauma informed and disclosure management skills for contextual safeguarding including the roots of where these issues come from.

Staff training, classroom resources in line with the new compulsory PSHE and how to support both victim and perpetrator rehabilitation in your school.

So will you take rape culture in schools as seriously as YES Matters UK and Amy Barlow? If so please see our website for further information on how to sign up: http://www.yes-matters.co.uk

Our Controversial Merch Scandal

YES Matters UK provides free rehabilitation and support services for children and young people who are victims of sexual abuse and exploitation. To do so we fundraise, apply for grants and now we have merch. We figured in winter 2021 that whilst our fundraising events kept being squashed due to Covid 19, merch would be online and safe from that issue.

Well..

We made some adverts for our merch. One particularly active ad showed items that caused quite the response!

This was the anti victim blaming bag:

The responses we got… (in the hundreds) ….were amusing.

Why amusing? Because they were absolutely full of angry (mostly men) crying about our man hating merch. About how it tars all men with the same brush. Demanding to know how can we support boys when we clearly despise all the male sex! How feminists are anti male extremists. Us feminazi’s needed stopping.

Why is that funny? Because the words “man”, “men”, “male” or “boy”….are not on the bag.

Anywhere.

So in fact by them assuming it was about men… It is them who were actually making the generalisations they were accusing us of.

Were our responses to these delightful and at times abusive comments always mature?….absolutely not. And while we take the point of one man that not having strictly professional responses could be frowned upon, the fact he had nothing to say about the men claiming that our volenteer staff weren’t attractive enough to be r*ped kind of undermines his high ground.

Here are some of my personal favourites:

The cherry on the cake was returning from the Christmas break to an email from advertising standards about a complaint on the ad of our bag. Must have been an interesting meeting..

So now we know what impact our merch can have, particularly on men who are particularly defensive, we’ve done the right thing.

We have taken responsibility for the reaction…..

You can now buy this reusable coffee cup at the YES Matters Facebook shop or here on Spotify now 😁:

https://yesmatters.myshopify.com/

At this rate, the tears will be included 😂

Joking aside, if you or anyone you know needs our help, our services are free. Just message us on our Tiktok, Twitter, Facebook or email us at yesmattersuk@gmail.com

White Ribbon Day?

So the 25th November starts of the 16 days of activism against gender violence. The United Nations General Assembly has designated November 25th as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. And in a year of a historical low in rape conviction rates and historical high in domestic homicide it is clear that this issue is still a big one.

And yet…

Local authorities and institutions across the UK have decided that it’s appropriate to call it White Ribbon Day. White Ribbon being the only male run charity involved in eliminating male violence against women and girls.

Now to be clear, I am glad there is a male organisation that takes accountability for male violence against women and girls as male accountability instead of victim blaming is the only way to solve the issue. However, calling it White Ribbon Day, making it about a male run organisation rather than the dead women and girls and raising the profile of the only male run charity and donations to it, ignoring the thousands of female run ones – is an example of the problem.

It is not white ribbon day. But it is typical that men talking about this get listened to instead of silenced, gas lit and ignored.

Violence against women and girls is a direct result of the sexual objectification of women and girls. That we are seen as objects not subjects and therefore less important than men. Less important in our experiences, what we have to say and everything else.

So renaming a day about the violence against women and girls after a male run organisation that our local authorities are more willing to listen to – is part of the problem.

These women and girls lives mattered, the experiences of our girls matter, the Ofsted findings on sexual harassment in schools matter, that rape isn’t convicted matters, that we can’t walk home safely matters, that we can’t trust police or family courts matters, that FGM goes unconvinced matters, that we have honour based violence matters, that Irish women have to leave the country for safe abortion matters, that Afgan girls can no longer get an education matters, that Britain is the third largest consumer of child abuse pornography matters, that cats get more funding than female victim services matters but only once men say it does…apparently.