Monday, 20 February 2012

Kicking victims for the sake of bigotry

So over in the US the Violence against Women Act has become partisan because it contains inclusive clauses for GBLT people, undocumented migrants and Native Americans

Which means, for these over-privileged arseholes, they were willing to scupper this bill – and throw all those women who desperately need this out because their hatred is more important than saving women’s lives. It isn’t just bigotry to those covered in those clauses, it is a callous disregard over everyone who is a victim of violence, stalking and domestic abuse.

Of course, given the source that’s not exactly surprising. But it’s an extra part that needs to be pointed out – none of these victims matter to them. Not the ones who are covered by the new clauses, nor the many other victims who they’re willing to ignore to flex their prejudice

And those clauses? They are needed. There does need to be specific addresses to marginalised groups that fall through the cracks, who the law often ignores even more than usual, who the law is often not even built to protect or acknowledge. They are needed because there are often extra issues that apply to minority groups that the law for the larger population of victims doesn’t address.

I’ve said it before on laws about bullying. Minorities often have specific issues that are specific to them above and beyond what the majority of victims face – that doesn’t make them more victimised, but it means if you want to address THEIR victimisation, you need to address their issues as well.

Like a domestic violence victim being afraid to come to the police or other external because they fear deportation, or the issues of institutional prejudice or confused or unhelpful jurisdictional wrangling. No matter how good the law is at protecting victims from abuse, if you don’t address that issue then these victims will not be protected.

Now, I don’t know what it’s like to be in an abusive relationship and fear getting help because of the first two reasons. But having a shred of humanity and compassion, I can see how desperately it is needed.

But for GBLT people, I’ve been there and I know it. It’s not a topic I approach with even the slightest degree of comfort, certainly not without using as much distancing language as I can to skirt round it. But this kind of thing is very close to my heart.

The helplessness of it, the isolation and, when finally looking for help, finding nothing, especially after being so cut off from friends and family and negotiating the closet. It was a while ago now, but there was nothing there. Nothing. No shelters, no advice for me, no centres that would talk to me and the police were worse than no help. The very acknowledgement that it COULD even happen was missing, let alone pushing that it had.

Of course, now things have… actually stayed entirely the same. There’s still Nothing. In fact, if you’re a GBLT victim of domestic violence, especially a gay man or a trans person, you better live in London and be able to wait for a damn WAITING LIST because otherwise you’re shit out of luck. Of course, you could just leave everything and become homeless and maybe find a shelter – oh wait, the biggest shelters here are Salvation Army run. Guess you’re shit out of luck. And if you’ve been raped or sexually abused, you might find a national helpline if you look for it (but you’ll have to know how to look, since they’re not in any community centre, NHS building, government centre or anything) and be able to deal with long distance communication because there’s nothing local. And, of course, the police and powers that be are scarcely more clued in.