Misogyny has been highlighted as a widespread reality across the country with millions sharing their stories of sexual assault, harassment and stalking. Official statistics published by the Office for National Statistics reveal almost 620,000 people in the UK were a victim of rape, sexual assault or an attempted sex attack last year but only one in six reported the crime.
An investigation by UN Women UK published last week found that 97 percent of women aged 18 to 24 have been sexually harassed.
A further 96 percent did not report these incidents because they believed doing so would not change anything.
The executive director of UN Women UK Claire Barnett said: “This is a human rights crisis. It’s just not enough for us to keep saying ‘this is too difficult a problem for us to solve’ – it needs addressing now.”
Misogyny and safe spaces have been important topics of discussion since the disappearance and death of Sarah Everard on March 3.
The 33-year-old vanished as she walked home from Clapham to Brixton and her body was later found in woodland near Ashford in Kent.
In the wake of the discovery, there has been a collective outpouring of grief from women across the UK, demanding the police and Government act to ensure their safety.
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And it seems like they have been heard, as police across England and Wales will now record misogyny offences as hate crimes.
The designation will come into force from the autumn and follow widespread protests regarding the treatment of women in the UK.
Home Office minister Baroness Susan Williams said police forces in England and Wales will be instructed to record cases of harassment and stalking as hate crimes, where it is thought the victim was chosen “based on their sex”.
The move was announced just hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for a change in cultural attitudes towards women’s safety.
The move was introduced after several campaigners called for greater protection for women and girls amid the “epidemic of violence”.
Baroness Kennedy of Cradley said: “If we are not recording crime targeted at women, how can we effectively address violence against women and girls and the police’s response to it?”
Labour MP Stella Creasy said: “By seeing if a crime has taken place. Like sexual harassment or assault.
“This isn’t about not opening doors for women or being able to make mother-in-law jokes.
“You can carry on being crass but if you assault a woman for being a woman this would be recorded.”
But what do misogyny and misogynoir mean?
Misogyny is defined as a feeling of hate, aversion or prejudice towards women which is felt by some people.
The word originates from the Ancient Greek words for “women” and “hatred”.
The use of “mis-” as a prefix is also used in the word misandry which is defined as the dislike of, contempt for or prejudice against men.
Misogynoir is misogyny directed towards black women where race and gender both play roles in bias.
Many women’s activist groups and feminists welcomed the news.
Citizens UK tweeted: “Amazing news! … Recording is such a vital step – goes beyond policing. With the data, society and the state can now build on this and take on endemic #misogyny in our culture.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote: “Misogyny will now be recorded as a hate crime – a HUGE victory for everyone involved in this cross-party campaign. It’s time for every Londoner to call out sexist and misogynistic attitudes wherever they are found – in the workplace, school, on the streets or public transport.”
Gender equality and women’s rights group Fawcett Society added: “Fantastic news that this Government has accepted that misogyny should be treated as a hate crime. A major step forward in changing how we understand, address and prevent violence against women and one we hope will help to change attitudes towards women.”