Violence against women and girls

Until recently I thought men and women committed crimes in more or less equal numbers. This isn’t the case. The Office of National Statistics publishes prison population figures every week and I downloaded the data for 11th February 2022. The difference between the sexes is substantial. In the last week, the number of prisoners in the male estate was 76,540. Can you guess how many prisoners were in the female estate?


In the same week, there were just 3,225 prisoners in the female prison estate. Women account for only 4% of all prisoners in the UK. Why is there such a huge gulf between the sexes where crime is concerned? Wikipedia has lots of theories ranging from social and cultural factors, to crimes going unreported to biological differences.

There are also quite glaring differences in the sex of victims of some crimes. 9 out 10 ten rape victims are women and 84% of all sexual offences are committed against women. We need to be aware of the statistics if we want to solve the problem, especially when a woman in the UK can be murdered by a police officer while walking home from a friend’s house.

According to Refuge, a woman and children’s charity against domestic violence, two women are killed every week in England and Wales by their current or former partner; one in three women aged 16-59 will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. These are shocking numbers.

This government report on Tackling violence against women and girls says education is one promising intervention that has been shown to have a positive impact on tackling some of the root causes. It helps children understand what healthy relationships, behaviours, and attitudes are and includes concepts of consent, exploitation, grooming, and harassment. The same government report also found a link between violent pornography and violent attitudes towards women and girls. In the news this week is the UK government draft online safety bill which will require pornography sites to check the age of users via a credit card or passport. I support this change. The new bill will also require tech companies to remove criminal content as a priority.

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries today announced extra priority illegal offences to be written on the face of the bill include revenge porn, hate crime, fraud, the sale of illegal drugs or weapons, the promotion or facilitation of suicide, people smuggling and sexual exploitation. Terrorism and child sexual abuse are already included.

Previously the firms would have been forced to take such content down after it had been reported to them by users but now they must be proactive and prevent people being exposed in the first place.

It will clamp down on pimps and human traffickers, extremist groups encouraging violence and racial hate against minorities, suicide chatrooms and the spread of private sexual images of women without their consent.

This all sounds positive to me. Maybe one day we’ll live in a world where women and girls can walk home alone at night without constantly looking over their shoulders.

9 thoughts on “Violence against women and girls”

  1. I just read a book with a great scene where the protagonist calls out a guy for saying that being groped is not as bad as being raped. I thought it was good that a popular fiction writer would address that, and also the reality that many people will not accept the wrongness of a male violating a female’s space.
    In a random group of female school staff, you’d expect to find at least one or two stories of male students attempting to intimidate them with their stature/aggression/maleness. There is a lot of cultural normalising of the ascendancy of the male but as you say, there are lots of measures in the education system to try to address this and most of the students support equality.

    1. That sounds like a good book. What’s it called? There is a lot of normalising of it I guess because it is so widespread but I’m glad the problem is being acknowledged and addressed.

      1. It is called Pretending by Holly Bourne. It’s a bit long and maybe the message could be a bit more subtle and the characters more fleshed out, but I liked its uncompromising attitude.

  2. Grim stats, eh? To add to that, did you know that nearly 50% of men in prison who identity as women are there for sexual assault? It’s about four times higher than the percentage for men across the board. Unbelievable that there is such a strong push to allow men who identity as women to be housed in the women’s prison estate. The fact that women will be put at risk by having men housed with them, or even distressed, appears to be almost irrelevant to the lobbyists for this travesty. However, to say this is deemed ‘transphobic’, but how can we change or improve anything in our society if we’re not allowed to state facts? Women (and children) end up paying a high price from the silence of society.

    1. I didn’t know. I already felt it was wrong to imprison women with males without knowing that. I read that a disabled woman was arrested in Wales recently for putting up stickers about male violence. I don’t know if it’s true and suspect there’s more to the story but the statistics speak for themselves and it’s surely not illegal to copy and paste information that’s publicly available on the Office of National Statistics website. None of the stickers I have seen said anything that should warrant being thrown in a cell overnight. People need to know the truth.

      1. Yes, it’s true about the disabled woman in Wales being arrested for stickering. Apparently, she was advocating for women, but the stickers were considered to be offensive to transwomen in some way. I can’t remember what the stickers said, but they were considered to be ‘anti-trans’ although the word trans wasn’t mentioned on any of them. It’s all getting insaner by the day. I can’t believe how much women’s rights and safeties are being disregarded now in favour of men’s ‘rights’.

      2. It’s particularly frightening in light of the Sarah Everard case. Yesterday The Times ran a story about Patsy Stevenson who was arrested at the Sarah Everard protest about her rough handling by the police. It’s behind a paywall I think but I want to link to it anyway as it was very good but shocking –

        I have always had enormous respect and trust for the police but these events have definitely put a dent in that trust for many women.

      3. Yes, I’ve always respected the police, even though there are a few bad eggs amongst them. They do a damn hard job, but, as you say, recent behaviour against women is tarnishing that respect. I hope some reckoning starts taking place soon.

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