Scottish government does u-turn on misogyny after refusing to include it in Hate Crime law
Justice Secretary sends strong signal to Helena Kennedy QC
Is the Scottish government finally listening to women - or has their private opinion polling given them a jolt?
Only six months after the then-Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf refused to include sex as an aggravator in the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) bill, his successor, Keith Brown has said such a move would be:
" a very important signal that these behaviours are not acceptable in society from men".
This will be news to Helena Kennedy QC, whose working group on whether misogyny should be a distinct crime is not due to report until February next year.
It will be hard, if not impossible, for Baroness Kennedy to ignore this strong signal from the government, but it may upset two of Scotland’s leading women’s organisations, Engender and Scottish Women’s Aid, who at the time of the bill’s passage through parliament argued against including sex being included as an aggravator as it could be seen as a purely ‘symbolic’ move.
As I argued in my Scotsman column yesterday, sometimes symbols matter. As does recognising an essential truth - that women are adult human females. Can we look forward to the Scottish government seeing sense on that?
Making misogyny a hate crime will not stop male violence against women. But it would send out a strong signal that hatred of women is not acceptable. That casual sexism is not amusing or light-hearted, but a symptom of a much deeper malaise – a violent culture where women live in fear, forever conscious that we are hated for our very being, our sex.